Grace Speech or Hate Speech?

Like many, my eyes have been on the Mississippi primary election runoff this week, and the fallout that has come from it.  While others who are wiser and better-read than am I are deliberating legalities, the question I have continued to ask is, “God, what is Your say in all that is happening?”  The Scripture that continues to return to me is Matthew 12:36-37, in which Jesus says, “on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak.”  The word “careless” here can also translate idle or barren.  

In the barrage of words that take place in the realm of politics, we so easily get caught up in vilifying a person with an opposing view.  We toss profanity and venomous name-calling into hate-laced diatribes and lob them like grenades from the safe foxholes of our online personas.  It is no longer enough to dissect ideologies; rather we dissect people created in the image of God and condemn them to hell for daring to disagree with us.  We are the epitome of salt and fresh water coming from the same stream about which James warned. 

Even worse, we glory in judgement.  We exult in the thought of, “someday they’ll get what’s coming to them” without stopping to shudder over the reality of the wrath of God.  We spew out sentiments like, “God hates liberals/homosexuals/abortion-providers/ad naseum” and conveniently ignore that God hates gossip, envy, divorce, and dishonest scales.  

I would venture to say that to condemn sin without tears running down our cheeks is to miss the compassion of God.  If we judge others without a holy dread falling on us, we have no right to wield the authority we are trying to claim. 

While people become increasingly disillusioned with our political leaders and the direction of our country, Christians are strategically placed to have an ear open to the heart of God and speak hope to those who are looking for someone to believe.  No one who trusts in Him will ever be put to shame. However, if we get caught in the tail-spin circle of angry diatribes against those with whom we disagree, we block ourselves from hearing Him and from reaching anybody.  We must bridle our tongues and remember the premium God places on saving a human soul from hell before we decide whether it’s worth it to defend ourselves.

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