by Brandy Webb
It is becoming increasingly obvious that many people seem to have the inability to listen. Unless the news is exaggerating about how people are behaving these days, it seems that a lot of people want to be heard, but they are unwilling to calmly listen to the opposing side. This in turn creates a shouting match of chaos. The real problem is people want others to treat them in a way that they are unwilling to treat others. The idea of, you listen to me only and do not attempt to disagree. This can only be described as a double and hypocritical standard. I know it comes to no surprise that the world is full of hypocrites and double standards, but we must make sure that as Christians we do not act the same way.
Think about it. How many times have we witnessed or been just as guilty to say that we are loving, but then a church split happens and old friends become new enemies? They discontinue speaking to anyone that stayed in church A because they left for church B or vice versa. How many times have we engaged ourselves in gossip, even though we know it is wrong? Don’t worry I am just as guilty. Maybe that is why Solomon describes “the words of a whisperer are like delicious morsels” (Proverbs 18:8a). When we are around a whisperer it is like resisting chocolate or whatever sweet you prefer. It is not easy, however, it is something we have to resist because a “whisperer separates close friends” causing discord (Proverbs 16:28b), and the “one who sows discord among brothers” is an abomination to God (Proverbs 6:19b).
The truth is, if we do not want to be hypocritical we must only look at ourselves and adjust how we are living, and make sure we are living lives that are pleasing to God. We will not have any excuses when we stand before the judgment seat. We won’t be able to say that it is the world’s fault, or so and so’s fault, or the temptation was too hard. No, we will have to answer for “every careless word [we] speak, for by [our] words [we] will be justified, and by [our] words [we] will be condemned” (Matthew 12:36-37).
The standard of living we are to live is Christ’s standard of living. We are to be gentle and kind (Matthew 5:5). We are to hunger and thirst for the truth (Matthew 5:6). We are to show mercy and be peacemakers (Matthew 5:7, 9). We are to love our enemies and pray for those who are mean to us (Matthew 5:44). This is a very high standard. If we focus on how we are living and compare our lives to Christ’s, we will not make the mistake of being hypocritical, and our actions, which speak louder than words, may inadvertently plant seeds of faith around us. Therefore, let us not succumb to the shouting matches of chaos around us, but instead to make it our goals “to live quietly, to mind [our] own business, and to work with [our hands]…so that [we] may win the respect of outsiders, and have need of nothing” (1 Thessalonians 4:11-12).