Is it just me, or has the world gotten a whole lot meaner?
I had this conversation with a couple in my church as we discussed a situation that had them deeply troubled. We spent some time not just talking about the situation itself, but how we got here. Conversations, text chains, emails, and “information links” via social media were some of the things that we could pinpoint as part of our current conundrum of confusion.
In the midst of this, the wife looked at me and said, “When did it become okay to be mean? There is nothing you see anymore that isn’t followed up with some negative remark.” As I drove home, it really hit me. All I could see were mean bumper stickers, mean flags, and mean drivers. I opened up Facebook and Twitter where anger and name-calling rule the day. When did bullying become okay?
I don’t ever remember it being like this.
I closed social media, and I opened up the lectionary assignment for today, and this is what I found:
1 Timothy 2 (The Message)
2 1-3 The first thing I want you to do is pray. Pray every way you know how, for everyone you know. Pray especially for rulers and their governments to rule well so we can be quietly about our business of living simply, in humble contemplation. This is the way our Savior God wants us to live.
Yes, Lord Jesus! Yes, Holy Spirit! All we want to do is go quietly about our business, live simply, and exist together in humble contemplation. I am exhausted with the cacophony of ugliness that shouts all of these things down.
4-7 He wants not only us but everyone saved, you know, everyone to get to know the truth we’ve learned: that there’s one God and only one, and one Priest-Mediator between God and us—Jesus, who offered himself in exchange for everyone held captive by sin, to set them all free.
We need to return to this one, seminal, important truth. God wants everyone to be saved. There is only one God, who lovingly sent Jesus to die for our sins and set us all free. When we spend our days spinning truths, pushing agendas, misdirecting the efforts of the faithful, and when we are hell bent on having our way, we fail at this most essential thing.
We are called to proclaim Christ crucified. None of the rest of the noise matters.
Eventually the news is going to get out. This and this only has been my appointed work: getting this news to those who have never heard of God, and explaining how it works by simple faith and plain truth.
At the end of my meeting, the issue had been resolved and we all felt at peace. The wife mentioned to me that God has been calling her to form a ladies prayer group at our church. That, my friends, is exactly what Timothy is saying here. The FIRST thing we should do is pray and pray every way we know how and for everyone we know.
Eventually the news does get out. May Jesus Christ be praised.