Monday, August 27, 2012

Incivility among Christians is rising at an alarming rate

I've noticed something over the last few weeks. The comments on my blog are getting harsh, uncivil, and sometimes just plain crazy. For the last few weeks I've been constantly thinking, "Boy, people sure are coming out of the woodwork!" Other bloggers and pastors are saying the same. The level of anger is often hair-trigger and the name-calling is really unconscionable.

I understand that we all are having pressures now. There are heightened economic pressures, emotional, social, employment...but that is no reason to be uncivil. We expect that from the world but not from the brethren. We need to be a light. Unfortunately, it seems that civility among and between Christians is going out the window.

Here is an example of a conversation I had with a person the other night on Facebook who says she is "a Christian whose boss is a Jewish Carpenter". I had made a comment on a Facebook prophecy page, a reaction to a posting by a person named Andrea E., regarding a report from a website called DEBKA.

Elizabeth Prata
DEBKA is not a reliable nor a credible source...sorry.

Andrea
Hey, I didn't like this comment. Debka file is reliable, and your comment is solely intended to harass. This is an end times prophecy forum/page and your comment is not needed.

Elizabeth Prata
I know this is an end time forum prophecy page. That is doubly why we should make sure not to be fringe but be sober in our thinking and right in our conversations. Debka is not a reliable source, sorry you don't like that but it is not meant to harass but to let you know that the information passed on that site is unsourced and usually incorrect. Here are comments from journalists in the field regarding DEBKA: "Yediot Achronot investigative reporter Ronen Bergman states that the site relies on information from sources with an agenda, such as neo-conservative elements of the US Republican Party, "whose worldview is that the situation is bad and is only going to get worse," and that Israeli intelligence officials do not consider even 10 percent of the site's content to be reliable. Cornell Law professor Michael C. Dorf calls Debka his "favorite alarmist Israeli website trading in rumors."'...sorry...

I think the best thing for you to do is simply inquire as to why I make a statement about a news outlet, and then I can share why, and then you can decide if my claims have merit... rather than accuse to motivations and harassment...let's be civil, shall we? My boss is Jewish Carpenter too, we are on the same team :)

Andrea
So are you claiming that all content on Debka's files are pathological lies? From my understanding, Debka does not have a particular agenda but rather relies on sources that connect with Arutz Shiva channel 7 Israel National News sources and Jerusalem Post sources as well. BOTH Jerusalem Post and Israel National News are reliable so that makes Debka reliable as well. Claiming that all or some of the content in their files/news updates are pathological lies is just ridiculous. I know the difference between Debka and lets say David Booth known as Sorcha Faal. Sorcha Faal reports are straight lies, but to say that Debka file is a pack of lies is ridiculous. Please give more information on Ronen Bergman. And if the information is proven accurate, I would be more than happy to remove the Debka file report from Aloha Bible Prophecies wall and NEVER post the files again, instead posting ONLY Israel National News and Jerusalem Post articles that NOBODY seems to be interested in as much...

Elizabeth Prata
I did not say DEBKA is a "pack of lies". I said they were not credible, their content is incorrect most of the time, and it is unsourced. Please consider these things - but not in anger...there is plenty of credible news around regarding Israel.

Andrea
I will not keep arguing with you, because you obviously do not seem to understand. Debka file's sources are the same sources from Israel National News Arutz Shiva channel 7 and Jerusalem post who share almost the same information on jpost.com updates. The sources are the same. To say that a source is not credible, and to say the content in Debka files are incorrect means the content is not truthful or lies. Does it not?? You are a school teacher, you should know the difference between a lie and incorrect content. I am not angry, it is just that Christian jihadists like you are solely out to poke fun of people online and it needs to stop. I wipe the dust off my feet, and that is NOT out of anger - its actually biblical...

And then she blocked me. My first block! I'll leave it up to you as to whether I earned it. I don't think I did.

I know the end time is ramping up to accelerated levels not only because of the outward signs Jesus, Paul, Peter and others said we'd see (Matthew 24, 1 Timothy 3, 1 and 2 Peter) but because of what is inside people coming out- especially Christians.

Christians are having knock-down drag out fights online and in real life over the timing of the rapture, baptism, Calvinism (that last one is causing fights among Christians to grow to epidemic proportions) and just about any other item, including the timing of the potluck or the color of the paper used for this week's bulletin. It is a shame, because we're given so many guidelines about the importance of taming the tongue. For example, the entire James 3 chapter is about taming the tongue. Christian blogger Christian Ballenger wrote of the James verses:

"The tongue is such a powerful part of the human anatomy. It is so potent, in fact, that the Bible declares that the tongue has the power of life and death (Proverbs 18:21). When trying to make our tongues slaves to righteousness, it can sometimes seem like an uphill climb—something that I can more than attest. From the previous post, however, we know that we are called to display our covenant with Christ through our words, by the seasoning of our conversation with salt (Colossians 4:6). The words we utter are an offering to God, and not only do we want to please God by the things we say, but also to effectively testify our faith in Christ. In our efforts to conform the tongue into the likeness of Christ, we must first understand the “beast” that is the tongue. Its power is highlighted in James."

The importance of peaceful language is rendered later on in James:

"The wisdom from above is first of all pure, then peaceful, courteous, not self-willed, full of compassion and kind actions, free from favouritism and from all insincerity. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace." (James 3:17).

Courtesy is far from found these days though. We should be seeking peace with each other in love and second of all bearing fruits which either sharpen each other or encourage each other.

1 Corinthians 13:5 says of love, "It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs."

Illustrator of 'St. Albans Psalter',
England, first half of 12th century
Courtesy is going out the door and the speech between Christians is becoming more like the world's. Many Christians are easily angered. I myself yelled at a kid on Friday. It was the first time ever, and was a shock to a colleague because I'm known for calmness and patience. She actually burst out laughing, it was so uncharacteristic of me. I felt so bad I went to the office and immediately confessed. Even our pastor said this Sunday that he and his wife found themselves yelling at each other, and were shocked into silence for a moment, because that is something they do NOT do. Satan would like nothing better than to besmirch our speech with harsh language, accusations of motivations, or name-calling to cause any lost person to say, "See? They're just like us. Jesus made no difference in their life, so why would He make a difference in mine?"

Above, illustration of Psalm 12:3-4: "May the Lord cut off all flattering lips, the tongue that makes great boasts, those who say, “With our tongue we will prevail, our lips are with us; who is master over us?”

Paul warned Timothy in 2 Timothy 3 about Godlessness in the last days. Paul said that perilous times would come, and Paul was referring to the dangerous time within the church.

"Godlessness in the Last Days"

1But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. 2For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, 4treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people."

In August 2011 USA Today reported that "Incivility is a growing problem at work, psychologists say". As I said though, the secular world's incivility is not just a secular problem, it has infiltrated the Christian world and conversations between brethren are increasingly uncivil. Even Saddleback Church Pastor Rick "Warren Cancels a Presidential Forum, Citing Incivility." How's that for irony.

Christianity and incivility don't mix, Forum speaker tells BYU audience
“It is never an option to claim Jesus Christ as Savior and behave in an uncivil manner with anyone, under any circumstance,” Mark DeMoss said in Tuesday’s forum."

I agree. The bible is clear about our language. Though speech is one of the most difficult parts of life to control, it is the most necessary, according to the bible. James 3 is all about taming the tongue. The tongue is a rudder, James says in verse 4. It is small, but it steers the whole ship. What comes out of a person is what is in a person. I need that reminder as much as anyone. I need to make sure I have a pleasant tone and use good language and speech when talking with people, and not to gossip.

I was struck, though, with how quickly the conversation between myself and that Andrea Facebook person went. Shocked, really. Is this what passes for Christian conversation these days? Yes, all too frequently, if my the number of blog comments I delete out of hand is any indication. Just ask Joanna and Mark Petry about the harsh and uncivil speech used against them when they were unjustly excommunicated from their jobs and ministries at Mars Hill Church by Mark Driscoll. Joanna's story is heartbreaking and beautifully written, and unfortunately is a very common circumstance today. Fellow Christians are being dispensed with at an alarming rate, either "blocked", "unfriended" or excommunicated from Protestant churches under a false covering of it being "church discipline." This habit of disposal is all too common in the secular world. The attitude is "Hey, if you don't like that person, slam them verbally, kick them out and forget about it." People are not in relationships for the long haul anymore, and their language mirrors that attitude. Increasingly, this includes Christians.

The name-calling and accusations have to stop. Please let's use gentle language. Let us love one another with a gentle love and not with name-calling and harsh speech.

The Psalmist asked, "O Lord, who shall sojourn in your tent?
Who shall dwell on your holy hill?
2 He who walks blamelessly and does what is right
and speaks truth in his heart;
3 who does not slander with his tongue
and does no evil to his neighbor,
nor takes up a reproach against his friend;" (Psalm 15:1-5)

39 comments:

  1. I am in total agreement with what you have written here. And this is not just here in America, but world-wide. I have even noticed that I lose my patience more often with my husband and my words to him are too often not kind. And I wonder - what in the world is wrong with me??? Even my grandchildren are shorter tempered than I ever remember my kids being. Seems like the littlest thing sets people off nowadays.

    As a Calvinist I can attest to the uncivility that is happening. Never before have I been blasted like I have been recently. It is shocking. Why is this happening?

    I agree with you - a symptom of the End Times.

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    1. Thanks anonymous. I know what you mean, I was abashed that I had raised my voice. I said the same thing you said, "What is the MATTER with me???" And the Anti-Calvinist backlash is getting ridiculous. (I am Calvinist too. I even believe in particular redemption, GASP!!! lol). Yet when brothers and sisters say Calvinist they may as well be saying Communist, and they say it like it's a disease.

      People are yelling all over the place, and too often following up that yelling with gunfire. Shudder...I won't get into any arguments with anyone, especially strangers these days. You never know when they'll pull a gun on me and shoot me dead like the two pushcart vendors outside Yankee Stadium fighting over a good selling spot.

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    2. what are you guys talking about.....the outward signs you claim are rather exaggerated at best, and people seem just as friendly and loving as they where years ago to me...but thats in canada...oops it turns out i guess only bad things in america counts as end time signs....

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    3. Anonymous, there is no need to be smug nor sarcastic. Especially not when Canada has had its recent share of heartbreaking news, like:

      In Canada: Chinese student chopped up and eaten by porn star, body parts sent to political parties

      and

      Shooting at Canada mall leaves 1 dead, 7 injured

      I believe Canada has escaped the worst of the American violence and interpersonal incivility that is so rampant now, but I see that Canada, as with all other nations, incivility is now rampant there too. And of course this is so, because the bible prophesies it. Canada will not escape the prophecy. It has reached you, and there is no denying that.

      I think that any person who works in any kind of industry, especially a service industry, would say that incivility is rising. If you personally have not been the recipient of rudeness, incivility, verbal abuse or attacks, and have been continually surrounded by "friendly and loving' people, then that is wonderful for you, however, I frankly do not believe it. All is not the same as it was years ago. (2 Peter 3:4). The bible prophesies a rise in brutality, discourteousness, self-centeredness, and that includes your experience in your nation, wherever that is.

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  2. Hi Elizabeth ~ I discovered your site a few weeks ago & have bookmarked it as one of my favs!

    INTERESTING, to say the least, that this is your topic today ~ as I've noticed a HUGE INCREASE in how (badly) people are acting!!

    i.e./ one little boy ~ maybe an older 3 year old ~ maybe 4 at the most, was really *ripped apart* by his mother/aunt/grandmother?? ~ a tattoed-to-the-hilt lady at the mall last Saturday & I've not been able to get him out of my mind in my prayers & cries to the Lord!! She just really lit into him as though he was purposely trying to defy her for not quickly responding when she ordered, "come here" ~ but truth is, the guy is young and new to this world.... and was completely & totally mesmerized by all the sights in the mall!!

    I can't shake the picture in my mind how she went over to bully him & how shocked & taken aback he was by that! I often wish I had a "secret badge" to appear that I'm with the Dept of Human Services -- maybe they'd think twice if they thought their child could be taken from them!

    Oh but wait! I'm sure lots of people would even WANT that -- they're tired of the *restraints* and lack of freedom as they're saddled with the responsibility of caring for the kid/s they brought into this world.

    Sorry.... got off on a rabbit trail there... this being my first post at your site, too! :)

    As the powers & principalities are so heavily at work right now, I really, really, in all earnesty think what we are seeing is one of THEE FINAL signs before Jesus comes out from the clouds to call us home! I fully expect that to be any time ~ and most likely, in my opinion, this very year.

    Meanwhile we pray for protection from those with quick tempers -- who indeed WOULD shoot us for THEE stupidest things! Be careful driving, especially! BTW, lots of back stabbers at my DH's place of employment -- which smacks, considering they're so nice to his face & considering he treats them with total dignity & repsect and cares about them. Signs of the times, no doubt!!

    Just any moment! MARANATHA!!

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    1. but didnt the bible say spare the rod spoil the child.....

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    2. Actually no, there is nothing in the bible that says 'spare the rod and spoil the child'. It's one of those idioms that people think is in the bible, but isn't. Like "Cleanliness is next to Godliness"; that saying isn't in the bible either. There are two biblical proverbs that mention the rod, and they are:

      He who spareth the rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him correcteth him betimes" (Proverbs 13:24) and "Withhold not correction from a child: for if thou strike him with the rod, he shall not die. Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and deliver his soul from hell." (Proverbs 23:13-14)

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    3. Anonymous, thanks for making this site one of your favorites! I agree with you that the powers and principalities are working overtime right now, but I don't think they are unhappy about that extra work, seeing how easy it is to get people riled up and uncivil, they are probably cackling with maniacal glee!

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    4. so basically u agree with what the mother the first anonymous person saw did right....

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    5. Anonymous, maybe if you use English, normal spelling, and some punctuation I might be able to figure out what you're referring to. Otherwise I don't have a reply because I can't understand what you mean. I'm sorry...

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    6. Elizabeth, please reconsider your response, as I believe it could have been more civil. Anonymous is using English and aside from the word *you* spelled with just the letter u, which is internet shorthand, often used because it's quicker and easier, it was such a short sentence it didn't really require punctuation, and I believe they were clear enough for their meaning to get across. Which was, (based on the scriptures you provided in reference to the "spare the rod, spoil the child", quote) that you agree with the "bullying", behaviour of that *tattooed* woman, to the child who was with her. Believing that's truly what happened, per the account of previous anonymous, then I believe you would agree Elizabeth, that the "tattooed" woman's behaviour was wrong.


      Also, not to be offensive or rude myself, but I cringe when I hear/read people label theirself a Calvinist, or some other denominational title, simply because I believe it takes away from Jesus. I believe we should all simply classify ourselves as Christians: believers in Christ, and leave it at that, because I believe The Word is pretty straightforward, that God teaches us quite well on how to live, thus all these off shoots of interpretations that have lead to these classifications that just serve to create divisions, named after men, takes away from The One and at least in my belief, only One, it should be about, and that is The Son, Jesus Christ. I think it's OK to share what our beliefs are in terms of interpretations of scriptures, such as saying, "my beliefs are in line with those founded by *John Calvin* etc.
      I honestly don't believe it really matters, in the grand scheme of salvation. Thus the side choosing with those beliefs, and the denominational beliefs, and dissension that arises because of opposing views, by those who feel you must make a choice, serves not God, but the enemy. It's not conducive of the cohesiveness that should exist in The Body, that with unity, has more strength and thus better counters the tactics of the enemy. I think we should focus on making sure people know who Jesus is, That He is a Saviour, and that people need to accept Him as their Saviour and Lord, and repent, and be obedient to God's commandments, not on whether or not we ascribe ourselves to a certain belief system of some man.

      And in regards to the subject of your post, the lack of civility. I have to agree that it's increasing. Even in myself, I own that I have allowed my temper to be more short fused at times, and I've allowed myself to cross the line, and speak unbecomingly. I have to say that I feel as though I am reverting to my pre-saved state. I believe it all hinges on God, and His word. His word is so purifying, that those of us who wash ourselves with it regularly, are more apt to walk in obedience, to be more at peace, and thus to exude a more graceful attitude and behavior. Due to the very fiery trial I have been put under, my faith has been shaken such that right now I'm in place of cooling, towards The Lord. I'm not as on fire for him as I was. Thus my prayer life, and the reading of the word has shrunk to the worst it's ever been, which I believe is the reason for my shorter temper and sharper tongue. God is dealing with me, as I am still open to Him, my heart is still for Him, so I know this wont last.

      Anyway, continue sharing truth, His truth above all, as ever, for there is so much noise in this world today, and so many voices trying to silence the truth from being uttered. And many people don't have the strength and confidence to keep pressing, to keep sharing. I believe the enemy knows time is just about up, so the darkness is raging ever hard to bring as many down into the pit.

      God bless,

      J.L.

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    7. Hi JL,

      The following does not make sense to me, "person saw did right"... I didn't understand the sentence and therefore had no response, but I wanted to let the person know why I wasn't answering, which is more civil than ignoring it. Also, I'm a literacy teacher and the shorthand bothers me :)

      As for labels, I'm a a Calvinist. I'm a fundamentalist, an evangelical, reformed, a Baptist, and I'm also a Christian, which is another way of saying my beliefs are founded on those from Jesus Christ. I'm also autistic. Labels are not great but when used in a non-judgmental manner, they help to quickly identify what's what in a conversation.

      Here is what Pastor JD Hall said of using labels, specifically the Calvinist label-

      "Call me a Calvinist. There are worse things to be called (like "Semi-Pelagian"). No one likes labels. But labels are labels. We know what they mean. They're not going anywhere. Why should we run from them?

      "The frustration in this doctrinal skirmish invading the evangelical world is that some would treat our historic Baptist position as being a strange or scarce doctrine. We then are prone to quote the great theologians of ages past, the leaders of the Reformation, the Puritans, preachers like Edwards and Whitefiled and Spurgeon, our Southern Baptist forbears...and then we hear our opponents say, "see - you have the doctrine of men." In truth, we would not bring up this men at all if our opponents didn't accuse us of being in the minority of Christian thought. We Calvinists certainly are in today's minority. If one were to count the great cloud of witnesses gone before us, however, we would be in the clear majority of those going by the name "Protestant" and I would argue from a historical perspective, from among those going by the name "Christian." ---end JD Hall---

      Labels are a convenient shorthand. Just saying I'm an evangelical isn't divisive, it's a person's reaction to the label that is.

      You said "His word is so purifying, that those of us who wash ourselves with it regularly, are more apt to walk in obedience, to be more at peace, and thus to exude a more graceful attitude and behavior" and I totally agree. That is a great way to put things.

      However, it must be said that Christians who aren't being physically persecuted (which is a different situation altogether) but are being verbally persecuted are still human, and still must deal with pressures that are daily getting more severe. We're only human, and sometimes even those who are walking in much grace and maturity have a human limit, and patience may become in short supply once in a while.

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  3. "I think that any person who works in any kind of industry, especially a service industry, would say that incivility is rising."

    Absoultely Grace. If you really want to see the decline of this world, work in customer service. I have been in customer service for almost 15 yrs, and I have watched people steadily becoming worse, in regards to how they act towards the people serving them. My situation is interesting(I feel) because I work for an industry that serves the rich and elite. I notice that customers are much more impatient these days, cut you off in the middle of speaking, more demanding and simply out right rude, even down right nasty. I feel like we are becoming animals. Thank you for the insight Grace, as always.


    Marrell

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    1. Hi Marrell,

      I'm so sorry you have to deal with rudeness and nastiness son a daily basis in your work. It makes me all the more happy to think about in heaven when all speech and relations will be perfectly kind and loving!!

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    2. Hi Marrell,

      I'm sorry you have to deal with rudeness and nastiness at your work...it makes me all the more happy to think how wonderful relations and speech will be in heaven when all is perfectly kind and loving!

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    3. Thank you Grace :)Due to the world we live in it is hard to imagine a wonderful place such as Heaven but I trust in His word. A place perfectly kind and loving; I can't wait!

      Blessings,
      Marrell

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  4. Can someone explain Calvinism? I looked it up but the sites i found paint such a dark light on it.
    Thank you

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    1. Hi Ann-Lynn,

      This is a good website with short explanation- using scriptures- of what Calvinists believe.
      http://www.calvinistcorner.com/tulip.htm

      Calvinists are people who subscribe to the Doctrines of Grace that John Calvin expounded in the mid 1500s.

      Baptists and Calvinists have been fighting over the 5 main points of Calvinism for 400 years, but the battle has become more pitched lately, particularly at the Southern Baptist Convention.

      In many quarters, people say "Calvinist" like it is a disease. Someone said that yesterday to me in my own home.

      At root the basis to the chasm between the two camps is over the sovereignty of God. Do people choose Jesus, or does Jesus choose us? The site I gave you a link for explains very well and not complicated.

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  5. I got my first couple of "ugly comments" that included accusations and name-calling this past couple of weeks as well. I employ the moderation feature and do not post uncivil discourse. By contrast I had two loving Christians post comments that disagreed in love and supported their comments with scripture and I hope I received their admonition on specific phrases or words I used, which they felt could be offensive.

    I admire your ability to respond in love. I did not see any defensiveness or argumentativeness in your responses, just firmness in standing firm on scripture.

    Most blogs offer the ability to moderate or close comments and it is the blog owners perogative to simply not get into exchanges. I feel that most of the time there is value in feedback. Even if there is disagreement.

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    1. Hi shekinah419,

      I had to go to comment moderation early on. The profanity is amazing...just yesterday someone said my head is too far up my a** to see daylight. How they think that kind of comment pushes forward the conversation or instills understanding is beyond me. I love it when people use scripture to back up their disagreement with anything I've said. The other thing I am amazed at is how few people do so! They ignore the verses and go straight for the ad hominem attack.

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  6. I agree - I see this incivility on a daily basis, and not just among Christians. I find it even worse among unbelievers, not surprisingly. What I see is a lack of training children in courtesy, which means they grow up to be very uncivil people.

    BUT, I find most of the lacking in civility among the Christians on blogs and FB, especially if you happened to suggest that their favorite author/pastor/speaker has false teachings. Immediately you are told what a disgusting human being you are, how you are attacking the "Lord's anointed," etc.

    As for the Calvinist/non-Calvinist discussions, I find just as much incivility on both sides. Very often as soon as a Calvinist learns I'm a non-Calvinist, I am immediately called an Arminian, a heretic or a Pelagian - or all three. I have never called a Calvinist any name.

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    1. Hi Glenn, I agree completely about the children. Even over the last 5 years since I started working in elementary schools down south, kids used to say Ma'am and sir regularly and be very polite, but the last two years to get a ma'am out of a kid is like pulling teeth, and hardly anyone says it voluntarily anymore.

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  7. My husband and I live as missionaries in an Eastern European country. YES! People there are already rude compared to American (and Canadian of course!) standards - but oh my! It is getting worse. Much worse as society decays and begins to fall apart around the world. We've seen it in Western Europe, too. This is NOT just an "American problem".

    Coming back to the States for a few months this year we notice it most on the roads. This year has been the worst ever. We are constantly tailgated, even at speed limit or a couple miles over; cut off several times, once at 50 mph so close we almost were side swiped (speed limit was 50). We are doing the same speed as *most* of the traffic, not slow-poking along. If these things had just happened once or twice in the past 3 months that would be one thing. But it happens every time we get on the road!

    Shopping is another story, too. People are much ruder and it seems there are more in the stores than ever before. I've wondered if this is true because so many are out of work and even homeless and have no place else to go. They can't really buy much, but they can look at what's there and envy and covet like crazy, and despair over the rising prices. All of which ends up reflected in their treatment of people around them.

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    1. Hi Anonymous,

      Yes, the road rage is a hug problem. AN you never know these days when someone will stop their car and begin yelling at you for doing something they perceived as rude, or an almost invisible slight. They'll come at you with words, profanity, gestures, and sometimes even violence.

      BLESS YOU and your husband for your missionary work!!!!!

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  8. Some months ago it was called to my attention by a fellow believer that it seems that the Church is being 'sifted' under our present life pressures. A good illustration would be a tube of toothpaste---when under pressure, whatever is inside comes out. The Word calls us to exhort/encourage one another, and it would seem to me that some of what we are seeing in the incivility of Christians to one another could be part of the sifting process. I suppose, in that case, we shouldn't be surprised. It still isn't pleasant, but God is control. He has purpose for the sifting. Now, more than ever, we need to give grace to each other and not get 'snarky' over non-salvation issues.

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    1. Anonymous, great comment. Actually 1 Peter 4:17 refers to this very thing, thanks for the excellent reminder.

      "For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?"

      In that verse it indicates that God is putting forth a purification to the Christians to sift out wheat from chaff, silver from dross.

      I'll keep your comment in mind next time I am tempted to be uncivil, that He is doing a sifting process, because I don't want my Christian character to suffer, for sure.

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  9. you people really have no idea how rude people used to be.....do you

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  10. This comes at perfect timing as I was shocked at Pastor JD's rant about KJV only. I am KJV only, but if someone chooses another version that is their choice. To use the words ilk and cult was so over the line. He is such an amazing prophecy teacher I do forgive him, but I am not sure if I should continue listening to him. What do you think? Should I just let this go and still listen?

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    1. Pastor JD was emphatic that he likes many versions and uses many, including the King James himself. He was FOR the King James, but AGAINST the "only." I appreciated how he gave examples from the KJV, the NIV and other versions to show how words change over time and using a plethora of credible versions helps keep us knowledgeable and apprised of the full context. His main point was the word apostia.

      I would say definitely keep listening, he is a good pastor with a loving heart and right doctrine. Pastors like him are in short supply these days!

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  11. Yes this is a growing concern of mine for myself and for others. I have noticed a change in how I first feel about things that may be challenging, and if I am not very careful at times I can be way out of the gate and down the road with inappropriate action. It is a lot of what is happening to us and around us, but it may also be that as the restrainer is removed and the world slides deeper into sin it is a response to the evil around us. It is only in faith that I am able to stand.

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  12. As the storm draws ever near, our foundations are being exposed. Multitudes of people are falling apart over superficial issues. It is miserable to live under the wrath of God. Those who have experienced the Living Water of the Lamb of God have all the more reason to pray for their thirsty souls. April

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  13. Hi Elizabeth, I see that this post elicited a lot of reactions.

    I am just going to tell you an experience that I had a few years back when I was painting a house being built and day after day I was being harassed by this carpenter who as soon as he saw me walking in would change the conversation and started cursing and using profanities and putting down women with vulgar language. It seemed to me that he was testing my patience since everybody knew I was a Christian.

    I think that most of the time people act the way they do for a reason. Of course, that doesn´t excuse their behavior. So I didn´t say anything the first few days, a week went by and he kept his routine.

    One day I got so tired, I stopped him right in his track and told him: "John, you know what you remind me of, a mad dog who is sick and vomits all over the place every time you open your mouth. And to get to work I have to jump over to avoid walking in all your dirty puddles (I described exactly the picture I had in my mind). I want you to stop it. You understand?"

    Going back home at night, the Lord put it on my heart to pray for John. As I was asking the Lord waht this was all about, He showed me that John was very angry at the world and women in general because he had some deep resentment due his wife having left him. So the next day, I invited him for lunch the next day and we started talking about stuff in general, carpentry and Free Masonry.

    Then I asked him, "why don´t tell me about the hard time you are going through because of your wife?" He got really quiet.
    -How do you know? he replied.
    -I said I don´t, that´s why I am asking you.

    Then He opened up and let it all come out, how his wife had betrayed him with another man and how he had become very angry and bitter. So I told him about the love and the way of Jesus.

    We became friends. After the job was finished, we didn´t see each other for a few years until I met him again. He was a different person, nice, happily married to a Christian and going to church.

    In conclusion, I think it´s a matter of checking with the Lord to see if He wants to use us in the life of the person that´s being rude or unloving and proceed from there.

    I realize that the exchanges on FB and blog comments are a different venue allowing gratuitous, anonymous and instantaneous gratification of having put somebody down with impunity, or so they think. But the Lord vindicates us and will reward our patience and gentleness.

    So my sister, you can be counted among the blessed ones and your reward will be comnmensurate to the patience, gentleness and love that you have shown with your readers.

    For all the bad and rude feed back you get, you got some wonderful brothers and sisters who are touched and encouraged by your faithfulness and perseverance.

    Remember the Lord is your buckler and your great reward. May the Lord´s peace rule your heart. Jean-Louis.

    PS: It´s funny! with my blog I have very few comments. I am getting bored...no insults, no rudeness, no incivility...hummmm I must be doing something wrong. Maybe we should exchange recipes. LOL.

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    1. Great point Jean-Louis; I loved the story :)I think it is something we can all try to keep in mind.

      Blessings
      Marrell

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    2. Thanks Marrell for your feedback and blessings.
      If you click on my name at the top of my comment, it should link you directly to my blog.
      Come in for a visit, my door is always open.
      Grace and peace to you.
      Jean-Louis.

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  14. Wow, I thought it was just me! I certainly expect a lack of manners among unbelievers but the brethren is held to a higher standard. I've seen people get chewed out on Christian forums & I think, thats not a good witness. Whether we realize it or not, people are watching. These people should be able to see something in us that they don't possess themselves. Its the Holy Spirit but, if we're bickering just as the world does then how do we set ourselves apart? We are in this world not of this world & that is best demonstrated & applied when we repay an argumentative spirit with love. Easier said than done, I know. But, as my mom has told me allllll my life, "Mija, one day you will be standing before the Lord & momma wont be there to help you so everything you do is between you & the Lord. Think twice about your words & actions because one day you will have to answer for them." As the word says, judgement begins in the house of God. We have to lean on each other for encouragement & accountability now more than ever! Keep up the good work Elizabeth & I will keep your ministry in my prayers as we are all watching =)
    Blessings!

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    1. Thanks SO much, Amber! Your mother was right, we will have to account for every careless word we have uttered. Matthew 12:36-37. It is why James says we should be slow to speak! James 1:19-20.

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  15. Hi Elizabeth,

    Great post and I agree that civility has been decreasing for quite some time now. I read your posts daily and love you and everything you have done to help me in my walk with the Lord. Please help me to understand how someone could believe in John Calvin's teaching. I recently learned about Calvinism and am reading about the floggings, imprisonments, torture, banishments, beheading and burnings for those who dared to disagree with him. I appreciate any help. Thank you as always Elizabeth, Laura.

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    1. Hi Laura,

      Thanks so very much for reading! I have not read about tortures and floggings for following the teachings of John Calvin. I know that for those who dared to break away from the teachings of the Catholic Church at that time they endured torture and martyrdom.

      If you want to know what the Doctrines of Grace are, they are well-stated here, with scriptures:
      http://www.calvinistcorner.com/tulip.htm

      Thank you so much for asking. May God bless you richly and your walk with Him filled with light and grace. :)

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