We live in polarizing times.
There are days when I feel that our news programs, social media feeds, and ways of communicating, are set-up to be combative and divisive.
But hear this warning from Colossians 4:6: “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.”
The immediate context is about how we act toward people who don’t share our faith. In other words, the way we speak and interact should be gracious and not contradict who we are as followers of Jesus.
Let me share three over-simplifications which Christians are wise to avoid if we want to be gracious in a time of polarizing division.
First, “the sky is falling!”
Therapists call this catastrophizing. It’s losing perspective. If someone disagrees with your faith that doesn’t necessarily mean Armageddon is imminent.
Second, “If you don’t agree with me you’re against me!”
If someone has a theological disagreement with you that doesn’t necessarily mean they directly report to Satan.
Third, “No one cares about God anymore!”
This happens when we see Christian beliefs or practices losing influence in our culture. One example might be when the Lord’s prayer was taken out of public schools. But that’s about a loss of influence. (But we were never guaranteed that, were we?)
I realize that these are big topics for a short devotional. But the point is to be thoughtful and deliberate as we interact with others.
In a combative and divisive age, our words should be gracious. It’s hard to do that if we’re always over-simplifying and vilifying.
Pause frequently. Pray without ceasing. Maintain perspective. Respond well.
–Bible quotes are from the NIV.