Civility?


My friend, may I ask you a question? When it comes to knowing what’s right, is it proper for a Christian to express this to others? Or, are we being judgmental when, moved by our faith, we tell others about how God expects them to live?

My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I’m Mark Brunner.

Did you ever hear this? “Well, what’s right for you, may not be right for me. We both might be right.” I’ve heard that more often than I care to say. It’s called moral relativism. “If we’re both right, we’re both happy and we’re both equal. And, isn’t that what living in society is all about?” If it’s good for me and not for you, that’s ok. It’s all about diversity. Right? Really? In other words, standards to live by are old fashioned. Whether it’s marriage, lifestyle, the language we use, and on and on. We all have our standards? Only prudes lives by by a common standard, and to insist that others live by the same standards that you do is, well, being judgmental. And, no one should judge anyone else by their own standards. Right?

When it comes to knowing what’s right, is it proper for a Christian to express this to others? Are we to speaking the truth in love to others? Or, are we being judgmental when, moved by our faith, we tell others about how God expects them to live?

Here’s a comment from Richard Moe: “At a recent gathering of seminary professors, one teacher reported that at his school the most damaging charge one student can lodge against another is that the person is being “judgmental.” He found this pattern very upsetting. ‘You can’t get a good argument going in class anymore,’ he said. ‘As soon as somebody takes a stand on any important issue, someone else says that the person is being judgmental. And that’s it. End of discussion–everyone is intimidated!’ Many of the other professors nodded knowingly. There seemed to be a consensus that the fear of being judgmental has taken on epidemic proportions. Is the call for civility just another way of spreading this epidemic? If so, then I’m against civility. But I really don’t think that this is what being civil is all about.” (“Uncommon Decency”, Richard J. Mouw, pp. 20-21)

Christian civility does not commit us to a perspective that everything is relative. Being civil doesn’t mean that we can’t criticize what goes on around us. Confusing criticism with judgement seems to be all the rage these days as everyone appears to be fighting for their own definition of right and wrong. God wants us to be critical and he will take our criticism and, working with his Holy Spirit, change hearts. He is and always will be the judge, and we have a role to fill as the critic. Civility doesn’t require us to approve of what other people believe and do. It’s one thing to insist that other people have the right to express their convictions; it’s another thing to say that they’re right in doing so. To say that all beliefs and values are equal is an endorsement of moral relativism – a perspective that is incompatible with Christian faith. Christian civility does not mean refusing to make judgments about what is good and bad. Besides, it’s essentially important for each of us to have good judgement with the ability to express that judgement in the form of well timed and loving criticism. With Thomas ‘a Kempis let us say. “Grant me prudently to avoid him that flatters me, and to endure patiently him that contradicts me.” Amen to that. Look for friends who are both civil and critical. They’re the ones to hang out with, and from a position of civility, hear their critical opinions of how we lead our lives.

We pray. Heavenly Father, it’s never easy to receive criticism, nor is it comfortable to take it. When our pride is hurt, we are often reactors than good actors. Help us Lord to not only receive it but want it and treasure it. Forgive us when we feel put upon, or demeaned when we receive good counsel from our friends. In Jesus name we pray. Amen

Therefore my friend, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry for itself; each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matt 6:34) This Passing Day. May this passing day honor our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and be a blessing to you and everyone you meet. Find a stranger and say hello. Don't let another day pass without your day blessing someone else.

If you have a special prayer request, please send your request to "This Passing Day!" <markcbrunner@thispassingday.com>

God bless you for Jesus sake.

  • Facebook Black Round
  • Google+ - Black Circle
  • Twitter - Black Circle