Eph. 4:32 “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”
It was 32 years ago that Vice President George H. W. Bush made the pitch for “a kinder and gentler America.” As well intentioned as he may have been, the idea did not catch on with very many people. In the three decades that have followed, a lot of people in politics and in the media have done just the opposite. They exude anger and exhibit harsh, hateful hostility constantly.
On the street, in the mall and even at church we are observing a continuing demonstration of vicious behavior. According to some people…If you wear a mask, you are a wimp who lacks the courage to think for himself. If you don’t wear a mask, you are inviting a cursing, being spit upon, having hot coffee hurled in your face or even being stabbed. If you fly an American flag at your home or business, you may have a mob loot or burn your place. If you say something on social media that is not to the liking of the PC “police,” then you will be vilified and censored. If you wear a M.A.G.A. hat, you may be inviting a physical attack on your person. If you express disagreement on abortion, homosexuality, Islam, etc., then you are unpatriotic, unchristian and likely to receive threats of bodily harm. If you have a Trump bumper sticker on your car, then you are branded as a racist, an idiot or described with some other vicious derogatory term.
So what has happened to “kinder and gentler”? Well, it fell victim to a satanic attack on our nation. The breakdown of the family, the breakdown in education, the downward plunge of entertainment, etc., as well as the despicable evolution of American Christianity have brought us to a breaking point in our nation. The concept of “kinder and gentler” can be traced to two important Bible passages.
“Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.” —Matt. 7:12.
The world may not live by these valued principles; but the born again, saved sons and daughters of the living God certainly can. Now hear me, please; listen carefully. This is neither an appeal for a false unity nor an authorization for compromise. To be a “kinder and gentler” Christian is not a gateway to a loose, do-your-own thing, watered-down Christianity. You can treat others as you want to be treated (Matt. 7:12) and you can be kind (Eph. 4:32) while at the same time being a strong advocate for what you believe. A straightforward, bold, scriptural stand on important doctrines and issues can and should be presented publicly and privately according to the truths of these two texts. Fundamental, Bible-centered, conservative Christians show more compassion by accident on any given day than the liberals do on purpose. We know how to take a stand on issues and still be loving toward people. We don’t hesitate to say that alcohol, tobacco, drugs, perversion, etc., are wrong—very wrong, sinfully wrong—but we will show a loving compassion toward any body and everybody. We will never agree with his sin, but we will follow the example of Jesus and love the sinner. We may also disagree with our brethren and we may have to pull back from them. However, we can do that without violating these scriptural codes of both attitude and behavior.
Sometimes critics will try to brand anybody that stands by his convictions as though he is vicious and ugly. If their criticism is valid, he ought to apologize and correct his attitude. If their criticism is invalid, a consistent pattern of godly behavior will be all the testimony he needs. Folks, “kinder and gentler” is something we can do at home. “Kinder and gentler” can literally become the person you are. If you set out with a commitment to be a “kinder and gentler” person, I think you’re going to like yourself a lot more; and I can guarantee that the rest of us are going to like you better too.
Dr. Shelton Smith | Editor of the Sword of the Lord