In Worship today, as part of our overall theme of prayer, Pastor Doug shared the following reflection in response to the attack on the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, January 6. Several people have asked for it so they could share it with others so we’re providing that part of our service as a separate video for the convenience of those who wish to do that. May we all be in prayer for our nation, its leaders, and for ourselves and our neighbors.
This has been a difficult week for our country and many of you have reached out to me about it. I feel it’s important for me to share about what we witnessed Wednesday when the U.S. Capitol was violently breached and desecrated, people were killed and the lives of the Vice President, and every Senator, member of the House, police, and all the support staff were threatened. These actions need to be unequivocally condemned. If we saw soldiers or terrorists from any other nation do what was done on Wednesday, it would be an act of war. Increasing the tragedy of what took place is that we did this to ourselves.
As a Christian, it was very disturbing to see among a crowd that erected a gallows with a noose and included people with shirts that proclaimed civil war and that 6 million Jews was not enough in reference to the Holocaust, there were people holding flags with the word “Jesus” on it or holding signs saying “Jesus saves.” To see a violent mob acting as if they represent the name and mission of Christ is very harmful to our faith and our attempts to share Christ with others. Many people who are not followers of Christ look at that and say, “If that’s what Jesus is like, if this is how his followers behave, I want nothing to do with it.” We also witnessed an example of the two different Americas when it comes to the application of force by law enforcement.
While there are many lessons that need to be learned, one is that the words we listen to, speak and share in person and on social media have consequences. This is true for every person no matter how humble and unknown or how powerful or famous. Each of us is responsible for what we say and how we say it. Jesus speaks a clear and unmistakable warning in Matthew 12:36 that too many people seem ignorant of or disregard. Jesus says, “I tell you, on the day of judgment you will have to give an account for every careless word you utter.” Words and actions have consequences. The terrible scene that we witnessed Wednesday in Washington D.C. was the result in part of many words spoken and written for years. Many of those words were false, divisive, or self-serving lies. Many words have been spoken and written selfishly to gain power, wealth, or influence. The truth matters. Tragically many people believe things that are not true.
Some people will write or say about what happened on January 6, “We’re better than this, this isn’t who we are.” I respectfully disagree. Until we acknowledge, we’re not better than this and this is who are because this is how we speak and act and this is what we support and encourage through our own words and through whom we choose to listen to and read and support, the situation in our country will not get better. One thing we each can do is take responsibility for our words. There are many, many Bible verses that highlight the power and importance of how we speak. I pray God will help us abide by and live them out.
Psalm 141:3, Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips!
Proverbs 15:1-2, A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. The tongue of the wise commends knowledge, but the mouths of fools pour out folly.
Proverbs 15:4, A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit.
Matthew 15:11, “It is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person.”
Ephesians 4:29, Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.
James 1:19, 26 You must understand this, my beloved: let everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger; If any think they are religious, and do not bridle their tongues but deceive their hearts, their religion is worthless.
Psalm 19:14, Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.
As Christians may we do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with God.