I’ve grown weary. My issue is not physical; it is spiritual. I’ve grown spiritually weary.
The root cause is a seemingly endless barrage of mean-spirited words launched from every direction. I read or hear insensitive, unsympathetic, judgmental, and hurtful words.
I realize we are in an election cycle. The issues that divide are significant. Most, if not all, of the issues are emotionally charged. People possess strong opinions about a number of important issues and their strong opinions are often expressed with strong language.
A strong opinions, however, is never a license for meanness.
Ephesians 4:29 instructs, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” This directive certainly applies to face-to-face conversations, but it also applies to every other form of communication.
2 Corinthians 5:20 identifies us as Christ’s ambassadors. We are his representatives, just as a foreign ambassador represents the President of the United States. How we conduct ourselves reflects upon of the one who sends us.
William Willimon, professor of Christian ministry at Duke University, describes us as “resident aliens.” We may be American residents, but we are citizens of another kingdom.
What conclusions do people draw about Jesus based upon how attitudes or actions? Do people see his love through us? Do they conclude that Jesus cares for hurting people? Do they understand through what we say or write that Jesus is a friend of sinners, an advocate for the oppressed, and a voice for the voiceless?
Hebrews 4:15 declares, “We do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin.” To empathize is to understand and share another person’s experiences, emotions, or feelings.
Jesus understands why people feel as they do. He understands how they arrived at where they are in life. Shouldn’t we, as Christ’s ambassadors, strive to understand why people think as they do or make the choices they do?
Steven Covey, author of “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” teaches, “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” Before we share our opinion or attempt to change the opinions of another, we should seek to understand. We should strive to identify what experiences shape their views.
Empathy does not mean we condone sinful behavior. Loving other people does not require turning a blind eye to the ills that plague our society. Loving other people does mean that we always put the person ahead of whatever differences we might have.
- I am overcoming my spiritual weariness through more time in Scripture and less time with talk radio.
- I am praying more and avoiding social media.
- I am focusing more on how Jesus tells me to think and less on what the political pundits say.