There’s something about a holiday that makes me just want to spout off something profound in Jesus’ name. Not for my benefit (though it is enjoyable) but hopefully for others and perhaps in a small way to please the big guy upstairs.
My high school buddies used to joke (actually still joke) saying, “So Peirce you gonna be a preacher some day?” I always said no and still stay no but I do enjoy a verbal joust and I like explaining things in a way people understand. Hence this whole idea that teaching might just be the thing for me. Anyway before I ramble on about something else here is my profound spouting off on christmas. Hope Jesus doesn’t mind.
One of the giant lessons I got from college was the humanity of all people. By that I mean that all people have inherent dignity, they all deserve certain rights, they all have certain needs. It is wrong to take away from a person’s implicit worth. This idea grew and became quite strong in my mind but I never had one good, solid word to describe it. In the last week though, through a couple different sources, a word came to me. I wish I could take credit for it but alas I can’t. The word is civility.
In our world today, people just aren’t civil to one another. This takes on extreme examples like terrorism, sex trafficking, and war, to name just a few. In America it’s often more subtle but I would argue no less damaging to any potential progress we may make as a society and culture. People talk about how polarized our country is and it’s because people aren’t civil to one another. We look for sound bites to demonize any opposing view and we disregard the humanity of our enemy. We don’t seek to get to know, debate, or negotiate with our enemy, we yell loudly enough to drown out any other voice.
This is what I think Jesus might of been getting at when he said love your enemies. It is easy to be nice to people who agree with you but what makes a person really stand out is their willingness to say there’s more that we have in common than we have in opposition. We are both human, we both have the same God, we both want health and safety for our families, we both want to be loved.
Today we celebrate God sending his son to earth for ALL humanity. Not some, not a part or a fraction, not for the Baptists or Catholics or Muslims or Jews or Hindus. ALL humanity.
As we ponder what this really means I encourage you to ask yourself how civil am I to those around me and what can I do to treat people with the common dignity we all share.