A Sickness of the Soul

“Out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks.”

These words from the Gospel of Luke are being played out before our eyes daily. Though there are many situations all over the world that we could rightly call crises, there is one in our own culture that seeps down to the deepest level of our beings. As one Christian leader described it, “The way we talk about people is a crisis of the soul.” [1]

Indeed the toxicity of our overall social landscape is a sickness at the soul level. As Jesus said, the words that come from our mouths (and these days our social feeds) reveal what is in our hearts. “A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart…Out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks.”

Because of human nature, the current cultural climate in which we live, and the perpetuation provided by social media, high levels of toxicity in attitudes and speech are expected. Though the immaturity and hatefulness of it all has risen to levels beyond what we may have imagined, we are no longer surprised by it.

And all of us can easily be tempted to jump in to the next dumpster fire. Why not, since our national leaders do it? Why not, since some of our so-called Christian leaders do it? Why not, since the boomers who are our elders do it? Why not, since the millennials who will be the next generation of leaders do it? (Notice I omitted my own generation in blissful denial.)

The truth is we all bear responsibility, especially if we are followers of Jesus. We should be exceptional in these matters, not complicit. Though this beast of toxicity may seem invincible and irreversible, we simply cannot surrender to it. We certainly should not participate in it or promote it.

As we all know, the toxicity is at a boiling point as we speak in our nation’s capital. If it’s this bad right now, imagine what could be waiting for us in the next election year.

I am pleading with all of us, as I will continue to do, that we not be part of the problem.

I am praying that God will give us the wisdom we need to navigate all of this without being caught up in it.

I am beyond ready to see us be willing to call out evil, immoral, and immature behavior whether it is on the other side or our side.

I continue to plead with my brothers and sisters that we refuse to sinfully dehumanize, degrade, and demean people who are made in the image of God, and who most of the time we do not know personally.

And I want to be hopeful that we will rise above; and as history looks back on us it will see the clearest exceptions to all this ridiculous puerility were those who called themselves Christians and displayed the fruit of the Spirit in a unified, counter-cultural stream for the glory of God.

The way we speak about people reveals the condition of our heart and soul.

See also: A Different Lens – Words Matter

[1] Sami DiPasquale, panel in Washington DC, November 2019

One thought on “A Sickness of the Soul

  1. Phil says:

    “I am beyond ready to see us be willing to call out evil, immoral, and immature behavior whether it is on the other side or our side.”

    That’s one step, but doesn’t it go deeper? It seems to me, ironically, that this philosophy (or our fallible way of applying this philosophy) is probably at the root of the problem.

    Here’s why. I think you would get 100% agreement on that statement. The deeper problem is that we see the speck in our political “enemy’s” eye and disregard the plank in our political ally’s eye. So sure, I’ll agree to call out evil on both sides. It just so happens that my side has significantly less evil to call out!

    The problem deeper than that is that we even consider others with differing views to be “enemies” which comes straight out of the pride in our hearts that we fail to recognize we even have. We don’t recognize our own pride, because we’re so easily fooled by our true Enemy into thinking that right is on our side and to think differently is evil. So I’m right. Right is righteous. You’re wrong. Wrong is evil. Therefore you are evil, and I’m (righteously) calling you out for it.

    We shouldn’t be like the religious leader who was so sure he was in the right, but we should be like the publican who couldn’t get himself to look to heaven but begged God for forgiveness. Jesus says of him “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

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