It’s on the tip of my tongue

The other day I was reading an article from one of the religion news sources and read with interest a piece about current battles going on in one of the large christian denominations in the USA. It stepped through several aspects of the issues and identified by name one of the leaders the writer of the article took great issue with.

It mentioned views held by Dr So-and-So and others and a few paragraphs later mentioned Dr So-and-So “and his cronies.” While I was somewhat surprised by hearing such folk called “cronies,” I did snicker and enjoy hearing them called such. My sympathies were not with Dr So-and-So but with the writer of the article.

After thinking it over some I came to realize the language should not have surprised me at all. Whether folk are discussing – arguing about – religious issues or political issues, we have become accustomed to name-calling, invectives, and ad-hominems thrown at the “right” and the “left” and all points in between. If you have any doubt, listen to talk radio. It seems we have come to the place where we take this as the normal and expected way we talk to and about one-another.

Later that day, I happened to come across a certain Scripture passage and read this,

You have heard that it was said to those of ancient times, ‘You shall not murder’; and ‘whoever murders shall be liable to judgment. But I say to you that if you are angry with a brother or sister, you will be liable to judgment; and if you insult a brother or sister, you will be liable to the council; and if you say, ‘You fool,’ you will be liable to the hell of fire. (Matthew 5:21-22)

Should I take Jesus’ words seriously? Maybe the folk on the other side of the argument are not my “brother or sister” but my enemy. Isn’t it ok to call my enemies by insulting names? To treat my enemies with less respect and courtesy than I treat my friends, those of my side of the disagreement?

All, I can say is Jesus’ words struck me with more force and I felt them in my gut and soul more than I ever had before.

Maybe this Lent is a good time for me to begin to think of the words I should fast from and the words I should cultivate.

{ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est}

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