Civility in family church in St Johns FL Geneva PresbyterianI was coming back from a hospital visit in Jacksonville the other day and I passed a billboard that had a picture of Abraham Lincoln, and a quote on it. It read, “A House Divided… Cannot Stand.” Then underneath it read, “Civility is in You.” Pass it on.

Of course when Abraham Lincoln said, “A house divided cannot stand,” he was quoting Jesus…

I don’t love billboards, but I liked the message. Especially in our day when there is so much junk out there – so much trash, it was inspiring to see a positive message.

In the book of James, we are encouraged, “Be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger…”

When it comes to political conversations, are we quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger?

With all the problems in the world: poverty, war, injustice, how we communicate with each other may seem insignificant. But the truth is: our words can have a humanizing effect – or they can have a dehumanizing effect. Our words can create relationships, or they can destroy them.

In the book of Ephesians, Paul puts it like this… “Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only what is useful for building up, as there is need, so that your words may give grace to those who hear.” – Ephesians 4:29

May you come to see that you and I have been given a holy and awesome responsibility – to bring healing and hope to the world – even with our words. May you use your words (and your silences), carefully and with love. May you use them to build up and not to tear down. And may your words (your texts, your emails, your Facebook posts) give grace to those who hear.

Let us pray: God of Grace, for your sake, and for the sake of the soul of our communities and our country, empower us to be makers of peace. Amen.