Let’s Grow Up

CIVILITY

The word “civility” has a melodious sound. Especially during a crisis or a tragedy it appears to be manna from heaven. Politicians that wag their tongues like dogs do tails demand civility from their opposition. James, the brother of Jesus, issued this warning, “It (the tongue) corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell” (Ja.3: 6). It only takes a spark to start a fire that ignites a splinter that has come off the beam in our eyes (Mt.7: 3-5). It is a sign of immaturity that blames others for our failures. We are in a way children that never grow up. I look in the mirror and see an eight-year old face that far too often behaves childish. What frightens me is the prediction in Isaiah that we are going to be led by children (11: 6).

The inability to be mature about civility is nothing new. We think of the Greeks as having been mental giants; yet, this is what Paul had to tell them, “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish things behind me” (I Cor.13: 11). The people of Israel were regarded as children that required discipline and instructions (Deut.4: 44). Their leaders were constantly in each other’s hair. In fact, they had more fatalities than we have. We are Christians and therefore more civil. That is not what the New Testament thinks of us. In addition to what Paul told his Greek Christians, we have John call his followers “children (tekna) of God” (Jn .1: 12). This is surprising because God wants us to be like children that bear no grudges or feud endlessly (Mt.18: 3). Most certainly, Jesus did not want us to be childish in our adult life. For instance, John encouraged his dear children to become young men and fathers (I Jn.2: 12-14). Jesus himself asked his disciples, “How long shall I put up with you?” (Mt.17: 17).

Children, regardless of how lovable or popular they are, they wear us out. They also have vivid imaginations and can make up almost believable stories. They do and say things that can be very embarrassing. Now, the Bible regards us adults as children because we cannot manage our lives or affairs. We cannot even manage our tongues. Tucson is similar to the tragedy of Job. His four friends blamed the victim and assigned his punishment to God. Job’s answer should be ours, “But come on, all of you, try again! I will not find a wise man among you” (Job.17: 10). King David wrote, “God looks down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, that did seek God” (Ps.53: 2). He too was hasty and foolish. His son Salomon had to learn that a gentle tongue brought healing and turned away anger (Pr.12: 18; 29: 8). The lack of civility in this nation is a definite indication that we are still in the childhood stage, also known as the twilight zone.

Plato, in his Republic, had a caveman enter light and it blinded him. We too are being treated like children still living in caves. Our leaders, they too have emerged from caves and light has blinded them and they have become afraid of the truth. The use of incivility is proof that we are covering up the truth. We will never become sons of God because we love to be children. What does it take to become sons of God? What message did the Son of God leave us? It was, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons (uioi) of God” (Mt.5: 9). What has happened to the peacemakers of this nation that can maintain civility? Jesus predicted a time similar to the days of Noah when the sons of God shall become sensual and lose the Spirit of God (Mt.24: 37-38; Gen.6: 1-8). According to Paul, lawlessness will cause God to recall His Spirit and our ill behavior toward each other points in that direction (II Thes.2: 7-12). Please finish reading this last reference.