One of the things I often wonder is what happened to being kind and civil to one another. I used to think that it was only my perspective, but I have come to realize that many of the people I know see it too.
And so, in reflecting on how we can bring civility to society, I have one major recommendation. In order to help build a more civil society, we need to get back to seeing everyone as a child of God.
When we come to understand that we are all created in God’s image, we begin to look for the good in others, rather than simply seeking to criticize everyone who is somehow different from us.
However, one of the challenges we face in trying to do this is that it can be far too easy today to spend our lives without much social interaction. Oh, I know that we refer to Facebook and Twitter as “social communication sites,” but there is real value in face-to-face interaction with others.
When we get to know each other, we will be far less likely to categorize others based on age, race or faith, and we will begin to see them as individual persons made in the image and likeness of God. And when we begin to see others in this way, it will hopefully encourage us to give others the respect they deserve.
There will always be trouble
There’s a huge difference between what the world calls faiths and what the Bible teaches about faith in God.
When you ask the average person what faith they are, they usually respond with, "I’m Baptist," "Church of Christ," "non-denominational" or whatever their religious preference might be. Biblical faith in the God of all creation has nothing to do with the name on the building. In many cases, the name on the building usually signifies where people stopped having faith in God.
Christian faiths, as well as non-Christian faiths, in and of themselves, will never do anything of note to bring civility to society. In the world, we will always have trouble (John 16:33).
Those who have faith in God are not troublemakers, but rather are the children of peace. Jesus Christ is the prince of peace. All faiths don’t embrace Jesus as the one and only way to peace, consequently what we see in many situations is “symptom relief,” and not a genuine cure.
Much of the world’s lack of civility is centered on religious beliefs and doctrines that merely divide people. People hate other people because they hate God. God is love.
Every person who claims to have a faith must understand that people who come to God are justified by faith, and have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 5:1). The Holy Spirit cuts (circumcises) the “hatred” away from their hearts, and they become “civil.”