Time for civility requires discernment through the hyperbole. When 150,000 folks decide to protest something, they are practicing their right to “peaceably assemble” but only represent about .05percent of the nation’s population. If or when one percent of those protestors turn to violence, the radicals represent less than .0005percent of the nation’s population. So, 99.9995percent of Americans are not complicit in nor condoning of any violent demonstrations across our nation. The hyperbole does not honor or reflect reality.
The coverage given to the .0005percent by the various media along with the associated political rhetoric presents quite a disproportionate message of discord and division. It takes discipline and discernment to back away from the hyperbole. The old saying that, “News is news because it is news” has digressed to, “News is to be sensationalized to demonize one person or people as evil and glorify another person or people as good.” At best it is dishonest and not worthy of our time. At worst, it grants undue power to the .0005percent of the population and communicates discord across the country.
Anyone who loves Me will listen to My voice and obey. The Father will love him, and We will draw close to him and make a dwelling place within him. – John 14:23. Folks were often listening to the wrong stuff in Jesus’ day just as many do today. But Jesus set the example of spending time with His Father, listening and obeying. The call is to follow His example - to spend time with the Father, listen to His voice and obey. Then a healthy perspective in this world will be revealed in His light. It starts in the home with fathers and mothers grounded in their faith and sharing the Father’s voice with their children through their day-to-day interaction as husband & wife and dad & mom. Reading the Bible together as a family is another way to bring the Father’s voice alive in the home. The Father shares the moniker “father” with dads because a dad has the unique role of reflecting the Father’s voice in the home. That Voice will keep other noise in check.
In his book Last Call for Liberty, Os Guinness presents the three Rs of freedom of thought and conscience: rights, responsibilities and respect, as foundational for civility. When these are not taught and exemplified in family, a generation will redefine freedom as having no boundaries and disregard civility.
Tips to teach and exemplify civility in family:
- Read the Bible and pray together daily as husband and wife;
- Lead family discussions around modern-day application of the word of God;
- Lead by example in living under the authority of the word of God;
- Lead by example in respecting the local, state and federal authorities;
- Lead a family discussion around the Bill of Rights and Declaration of Independence;
- Engage a friend or extended family member that has a different worldview and listen;
- Pray daily for your family, church, city and nation.
Prayer guide: Father, thank You for Your Word and Your grace in the establishment of this nation. I confess that I have allowed myself to get caught up in the 24/7 news noise and political rhetoric. I have demonized those I disagree with. Forgive me. I commit to spending more time listening to You by reading Your word and praying together as a family. I pray for Your light to blast through the shadows that have distracted me from You. Help me shine Your light through the hyperbole and glorify You. That is the dad You call me to be and that’s the dad the next generation needs. Amen.
A faithful father shines the Light of the Lord through the hyperbole.