Those who offer words of grace speak for God

Published 8:38 am Friday, August 14, 2009

“Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only what is useful for building up, as there is need, so that your words may give grace to those who hear.” — Ephesians 4:29.

A former three-term Congressman was approached by his political party to consider running again for public office. Chances were excellent he would win. His wife raised a question: Would he really want to put his family through the villainous nature of another campaign?  How would their young children — now old enough to read and go “on-line” — be affected by the fabrications and outright lies that would be told about their father and family on the Internet? He chose to put family before country.

 I am rapidly approaching my biblical allotted lifetime of three score years and 10. I have seen many changes during my life — many of them positive and exciting and some negative and disturbing. I was in high school when Playboy magazine first appeared featuring young women as “playmates” to be used for one’s pleasure. I remember my pastor lamenting that such an exploitation of women would lead to the downfall of our country.  Certainly it has played its role in the social decay which people my age have witnessed over the last half of the 20th century. The real threat, greater than the pictures, was the underlying message:  It is permissible to use people for one’s enjoyment … to transform people into “things” to be used for self-gratification.

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Since then, the message of using people for self-gratification has reared its ugly head in another venue — talk radio. The appeal of talk radio (be it far left or far right) is to dehumanize individuals who have opposing views.  PolitiFact, an organization devoting itself to discerning that which is true, partially true, or outright falsehood, has discerned that only a few radio hosts tell the whole truth any of the time while several  have their “pants on fire” (outright lie) over 50 percent of the time. Unfortunately, we view talk radio hosts as “entertainers” rather than the promoters of hate they are …rewarding them with as much as $30 million a year!

As Christians, we have learned we cannot force people to do what we perceive is noble and right.  The urge within the heart to rebel is ever so strong and the human ego strives ever so hard to be superior. Yet, we who bear the name of Christ have been called upon to be a “salt” and a “leaven” within society. In other words, we have been chosen by God to set an example for others to follow. In the current environment of talk radio, we have a role to play. Where there is increasing division, we have been ordained to be agents of healing. The Apostle Paul urges us to use our voices to build one another up and to offer words of grace to all who are willing to hear. In so doing, we become voices who speak for God.