“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.” Matthew 5:43-44
What do those verses have to do with civility? It seems that people can find more and more ways to be unkind to others. In our world of e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, and texting, messages of unkindness are abundant. No longer are people face to face with those they wish to slander, belittle, or insult. It is hit and run with words.
It reminds me of something I once read about cowards. “Cowards are those who shoot the dead people after the battle is over.” Jesus faced His enemy with conviction and civility. Yes, Had much to say to those who were sinful, hypocritical, and self-righteous, but He did it in truth and in their presence.
Civility is being able to control one’s convictions. No one can help someone else to do better or be better when their only aim is to belittle or insult. Gossip, slander, and idle whispering serve no useful purpose. Those are the words that are spoken behind someone’s back, but not to their face.
Paul wrote in Ephesians 4:15 “speak the truth in love.” That should apply to anything we say and by any means through which it is said. Electronic media has become the major means of communication today. What many fail to remember is that once something is posted it is there to stay.
Take Paul’s advice for civility...Hold fast the pattern of sound words which you have heard from me, in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. II Timothy 1:13