Woke up this morning
The whole world was yelling
I wish I was dreaming
Of all that we’ve been through.
If there’s anything good coming out of our current climate of division and diatribe, the cry of this song reflects it. Many of us outside the limelight (and even a few in it) are hungering for a return to humility and civility.
Maher’s song will outlast every clamoring crisis and incendiary protest; it will outlast today’s bad examples and tomorrow’s snarky satire. It goes deeper because problem not rooted in the White House or celebrity misconduct.
“The line between good and evil,” Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn discovered in the degradation of a Soviet prison camp, “passes through every human heart.” He included his own. And I must include mine.
When everybody’s looking for another fight
When trouble’s on the rise, no end in sight
Oh Savior, won’t You come and make the wrong things right
Let me be the place You start
Give me a clean heart
This song puts the responsibility on the only person I can control in the war of the words: myself.
I must repent of every careless like and share. I must resolve to speak the truth only in love. I must refuse to perpetuate the unbridled anger driving our public conversation even when I have some sympathy for the underlying idea it may be addressing.
I must hold leaders whose ideas are similar to mine to the same standards I apply to my opponents. I must treat my enemies with respect and offer arguments free of venom.
I must admit that I still fail. I must welcome more love into my heart.
This is especially serious for people who claim to be Christian, and it’s time to make it clear to those who continue to deny Christ by their words, deeds and posts. It really doesn’t matter that we stand for life when we use our tongues a daggers. If we cannot disagree and still be respectful, we’ve made things worse, not better.
If we cannot love people whose race or lifestyle or religion or political party is different from ours, we do not resemble Christ in the least.
“When he was insulted, he returned no insult; when he suffered he did not threaten.” Christ loved his enemies and prayed for those who despised him. He said we’d be accountable for every careless word.
And I must begin with me.
I must repent of the times I’ve succumbed to the spirit of the age. I must confess my wrongs and make it up to those I’ve offended.
I must begin to test my likes and shares by the beauty of 1 Corinthians 13:
If I tweet in the tone of comics and hipsters, but have not love, I’m a honking horn, a blaring siren. And if I share reckless rants and post mocking memes, I have not love, and I am nothing. If my good deeds are photo ops and my enemy’s failings, feed fodder, I gain nothing.
Love prays before it tweets; its intention is pure. Love does not boast of its own accomplishments but celebrates the goodness of others.
Love is not sarcastic; it can communicate its anger without expletives. Love neither likes nor shares mean-spirited content.
Love defends the wounded and covers a multitude of sins. Love seeks understanding and walks in the pathway of peace.
Love can dispute without diminishing those who disagree.
We fail, but love never fails. Love gives the mercy it hopes to receive on the day when every keyboard is frozen and every tongue is stilled.
Give me a clean heart.
If you enjoyed this post you might also like For a Time of Transition: 3 Versions of the Litany of Humility in Song and Dialog in a Divisive Time: Bishop Barron, Dave Rubin and the Space Between.
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