“Friends, Jesus occasionally used harsh words to describe the hearts of the wicked anti-christs about him, but we do not see him hurling insults at people in verbal one-upmanship. He was silent at times. He prayed for his accusers. Boldly, he always spoke truth, but there was a dignity and honor with which he walked and spoke.”
They are like two middle school boys. In the recent South Carolina primary, I had dear friends vote for each of these fellows. In the national election, I may very well find myself having to vote for one of these two men. However, at this point in the process, if I have to put a check next to one of their names, I will be doing so with a queezy feeling in my gut. These two presidential candidates, they are displaying a lack of honor, dignity, charity, self-control, and class. I am embarrassed for them, for me, for America, for the Republican Party, and for the church of Jesus Christ.
They remind me of an Archie Bunker or Roseanne Barr sitcom. They address one another, in front of a huge television audience, in a manner I would not tolerate in my children’s rooms or in my soccer team’s locker room. Then after their emotional outbursts, they galavant all over the country repeating their best lines like a Don Rickles or Andrew Dice Clay performance. Mr. Trump mocks “Little Rubio” for his size, his sweating, his make-up, and his ears. Slanderously he says Rubio is so hated in Florida he could never get elected for a dog-catcher position. He refers to Mr. Cruz as a horrible individual and even encouraged a woman to yell out a crass and derogatory term for his competitor.* Mr. Rubio gives tit for tat. He lowers himself to the level of his most arrogant opponent and carries on talking about Donald’s spray-tan, bad hair, poor spelling, small hands, and possible pant-wetting.
I have had enough of their immaturity. I have had enough of the show; the cuteness has gone away a few episodes ago. I have had enough of their parading their sin in front of our nation and my family. I have had enough of my Christian brothers defending their manner of conservation with lines like, “Well sometimes that is what a winner has to do to be the last man standing.” Friends, regarding their immature name-calling, cat-fights, temper-tantrums, gossip and slander, I say “Enough said!”
However, I wonder, how are my thoughts and words? How do I express myself? Am I charitable to my opponents? Am I one with a kind tongue towards those with whom I disagree? What sort of father am I? Am I tender with the tongue towards my wife and children? What kind of soccer coach am I on the sideline? Would it be best for me to “shut my yapper?”
Friends, Jesus occasionally used harsh words to describe the hearts of the wicked anti-christs about him, but we do not see him hurling insults at people in verbal one-upmanship. He was silent at times. He prayed for his accusers. Boldly, he always spoke truth, but there was a dignity and honor with which he walked and spoke.
We see Stephen praying for those throwing stones his way.
Paul showed respect to the wicked authorities with whom he debated.
In our history, Christian’s could be heard singing and praying while being attached to stakes for burning.
Christians, consider the teaching of James:
So the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness … set on fire by hell … It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. (James 3:5-10)
Consider the teaching of Jesus:
The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. (Luke 6:45)
But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a person …. (Matthew 5:18-20)
But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned. (Matthew 12:36-37)
What says Paul?
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. (Ephesians 4:29)
Listen to the teaching of Solomon:
A worthless person, a wicked man, walks with a perverse mouth. (Proverbs 6:12)
These six things the Lord hates, these seven are an abomination to Him: a proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that are swift in running to evil, a false witness who speaks lies, and one who sows discord among brethren. (Proverbs 6:16-19)
In the multitude of words sin is not lacking, but he who restrains his lips is wise. The tongue of the righteous is choice silver; the heart of the wicked is worth little. The lips of the righteous feed many, but fools die for lack of wisdom. (Proverbs 10:19-21)
He who has knowledge spares his words, and a man of understanding is of a calm spirit. Even a fool is counted wise when he holds his peace; when he shuts his lips, he is considered perceptive. (Proverbs 17:27-28)
A fool has no delight in understanding, but in expressing his own heart. (Proverbs 18:2)
It is honorable for a man to stop striving, since any fool can start a quarrel. (Proverbs 20:3)
Joseph A. Franks IV is a minister in the Presbyterian Church in America and is Pastor of Palmetto Hills Presbyterian Church in Simpsonville, South Carolina. This article first appeared on his blog, and is used with permission.