I was encouraged when I read a passage from the letter of Paul to Titus in last Wednesday’s reading, “remind people to be loyally subject to the government and its officials, to obey the laws, to be ready to take on any honest employment. Tell them not to speak evil of anyone or be quarrelsome. They must be forbearing and display a perfect courtesy toward all men. We, ourselves, were once foolish, disobedient and far from the true faith; we were slaves to our passions and of pleasures of various kinds. We went our way in malice and envy, hateful ourselves and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our savior appeared, he saved us, not because of any righteous deeds we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the baptism of new birth and renewal by the Holy Spirit.” (Titus 3:1-6).
When I read this passage, I couldn’t help but compare it with the way some people in our society treat each other today. While most of us do our best to speak well of others, treat people in authority with respect and honor and do our best to obey the law, I think we all can take inventory of our language and behavior and make improvements in the way we conduct ourselves. Which of us has not spoken badly of a candidate for office? Who has not sometimes broken the law, or at least bent it? Who among us has not maligned someone or passed on nasty gossip or hearsay when we had no proof? Who among us has not been bitter or wished someone harm or envied another’s success?
I think I need to recommit myself to believing that all humans are worthy of dignity and respect, simply because all have been created by a loving God, “in his image and his likeness.” I need to recommit myself to treating all people, regardless of their politics, ideas, beliefs, status in life, as they really are, God’s children. I need to work on controlling the impulse to judge others, knowing that I too can be foolish, disobedient, uncaring, and faithless at times. I also need to remember that God loves me, not because I am wonderful, but because he is wonderful. I don’t deserve it. May God have mercy!
“May God bless and keep you. May he let his face shine upon you and give you his peace.”