Our theme for this month: “Changing the tone of the conversation”
Our Bible verse for today: “(Be) ready at any time to give a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you. Yet do this with gentleness and respect.”
1 Peter 3:15-16 (CSB)
Our thought for today: “We must help to change the tone of the conversation.”
This month my next book will be published. The title is: “Getting Along without Going Along: Biblical sexual ethics in an age of controversy and conflict”. The primary purpose of the book is to provide Christians with well researched and accurate information about sexual ethics – sexual ethics as defined by God in the Bible. The book consists of thirty-four short essays arranged in three categories: “What the Bible Says”; “Good Answers to Hard Questions”; and “A Way Forward”.
A secondary purpose of the book however, is to encourage Christians to publically contend for Biblical truth, but to do so with kindness and respect, as opposed to with anger and overheated rhetoric.
I think everyone would agree that the tone of our national dialogue has become shrill and nasty. Regardless of the issue being discussed, it seems that people can no longer have a calm and reasoned discussion about social issues. Instead the language used is strong, exaggerated, and often mean-spirited and unkind. That’s true of high profile politicians; it’s especially true in the news media; but it’s also becoming increasingly true among the population in general.
However it should not be true of Christians. Peter teaches in 1 Peter 3:15-16 that we must be able to contend for Biblical truth (in private conversation as well as in the public arena), with gentleness and respect. Not only should that be true when it is Biblical principles we are advocating for, but it should be true of our tone and demeanor regardless of the issue.
As we’ll see in our study this month, Jesus (especially in the Sermon on the Mount); Solomon, in the Proverbs; Paul, in his letters; Peter, in 1 Peter 3:15-16; and other Biblical writers as well, all teach us to keep our anger and emotions in check and to treat others with kindness and respect. That would include those with whom we disagree.
In our increasingly polarized society, with so much angry and overheated rhetoric flying in all directions, Christians should have the courage and the boldness to contend for Biblical truth, but we should also be the voice of reason and reconciliation. We will spend the month exploring that idea.