During the winter of 1978-79 the United Kingdom was hit with a severe season of social upheaval and violence. There were widespread strikes, picket lines, clashes between the citizenry and the police and much more angry and accusatory shouting at each other than reasoned and measured communication with each other. During that season then Prime Minister, James Callaghan, borrowed a phrase from Shakespeare’s Richard III, calling it a “Winter of Discontent.”
Lately it seems that our nation is going through a “Winter of Discontent”.
I have never heard as much shouting and so little communicating. Across our land there is a tidal wave of angry words, threats, and accusations.
As Christians how are we supposed to respond?
A word picture that I frequently remind myself of is a picture of a man carrying two buckets. One bucket is filled with water and the other is filled with gasoline. The man carrying those buckets has two options when he comes up on a fire-he can help put out the fire or he can throw fuel on the fire.
As Christians, we do not have the luxury to speak as “private citizens”; we are representatives of our Sovereign and must speak for Him and speak as Him.
Yes, there were times that Jesus was inflammatory and reactionary—but always with the leaders of that day. With the man and woman on the street he was gracious, measured, assuring, guiding, and instructing.
Yes, there were times that Jesus had to speak up, but the fact of the matter is that we have no record of Jesus ever weighing in on most of the “big issues” of his day.
Dear brothers and sisters, use filters when speaking to the people around you. Pouring gasoline on an already raging fire will do nothing to bring healing and reconciliation and draw people to Jesus Christ.
Your goal as a Christian is not to “liked”, “shared” or “tweeted”.
Your goal must not be to be simply memorable but helpful.
Let us represent our Lord and each other with dignity and wisdom-serving as voices of healing and direction for a bewildered and confused nation during this Winter of Discontent.
The ONE THING for today: Checklist before speaking…
- Does this really have to be said?
- Am I the one who should say it?
- When will be the best time to say it?
- Have I thought through the best way to say it so that I will represent the heart of Jesus?
- Have I prayed about it?
Psalm 19:14 (NKJV)
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.