Where has common decency gone?
There is an increasing anger and anxiety in our culture. It is common place for me to experience frustrated and edgy people on any given day. Just this past week:
- Someone honking behind us for simply stopping at an intersection
- A middle age daughter with her elderly mom in the passenger seat blasting a horn because an older man pulled up his car in front of the store to pick up his wife due to the rain. Then, the elderly man raised and shook his fist after the woman kept honking.
- Shortness by a customer representative simply for trying to get some answers on a particular product
- Frustration by someone in the community because the church did not provide immediate financial resources
- Oh yes, the presidential debate…. and the vice-presidential debate…
Anger seems to be commonplace these days. It characterizes the general mood in our society. American has become a grumpy, frustrated country.
Christians are not immune from these emotional outbursts. Complaining over some program change in the church leads to vocal darts directed at a leader. Emotions are displayed on a person’s sour face as they leave the church because they ran into someone who slighted them. God is to blame for a particular difficulty in life. Or church members are to blame for not responding quickly enough to that need.
Truthfully, I have had my moments of exasperation because something did not happen quickly or someone did not respond immediately. At times, these bouts of frustration are understandable for me or someone else. I am tired. I am hurried. Therefore, I respond in a regrettable way. Yet, more often than not, it is simply a result of unchecked emotions.
There are numerous ways Christians strive to reach their communities: programs, events, camps, service projects, and children’s programs. These are wonderful initiatives. Yet, I am becoming increasingly convinced that the most powerful means of outreach to society is an individual consistently displaying grace and kindness to those around us. What would our lives look like if we responded to a slight with a smile? What if we chose forbearance rather than a scowl? What if we simply breathed and complimented the clerk rather than frown that it is taking too long? What if our Christian faith became synonymous with patience, grace, and kindness? What opportunities might we then have to share our faith?
I believe people genuinely want this in their lives. And, amazingly as believers we have this to offer. It is what should make us distinct. It is what can make us distinct.