“But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.” – 2 Timothy 3:1-5
Are we in the last days?
Turn on TV news, or scroll through social media, and you might think so. Much of the discourse resembles characterizations described by Paul in his letter to the missionary Timothy.
People are angry. Intolerant. Loud and boastful. Unwilling to listen to others. Love of self, money and pleasure controls their lives.
Paul warned of terrible times in the last days. People would live wrongly and ignore God’s commands. Avoid them, he advised, lest you get sucked into their decadence.
Is this where we find ourselves? Staring down hordes who have turned from God, and are closed off to all but their own beliefs?
Maybe. Yet within every crisis lies opportunity.
God reminds that every one of us are created in His image. Let’s not be quick to write off others. Instead, let’s embrace the Great Commission, and seek to make disciples of even those who have strayed.
Let Us Speak Differently
“A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” – Proverbs 15:1
“Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger” – James 1:19
“Whoever restrains his words has knowledge, and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding.” – Proverbs 17:27
Consider these verses. What do they all have in common?
This guidance from Scripture runs contrary to our current environment, where people compete over who can shout the loudest, or win an argument at all costs. These passages counsel us to hold our tongues, and first listen and consider.
Herein lies our opportunity to share truth and the Good News. We can model the love of Jesus. By acting as true disciples, we offer a stark contrast to societal cacophony. Is it possible that many, worn out by the tumult, will not see a difference … and find it appealing?
Let’s first seek to walk in others’ shoes. Try to grasp the pain that makes them lash out.
Rather than respond in kind to sharp tongues, ask insightful questions: How did you come to this belief? Who told you the facts on which you base your statements? What are the perspectives of those who disagree?
Enact the 7-Second Rule: Wait seven seconds before responding. Let words sink in. Allow the Holy Spirit to shape an answer. Permit God to guide you in de-escalating conflict.
These are merely tactics to build bridges. The bigger picture – the part that really matters – is changing the narrative of anger and vitriol that seems to dominate the public square.
How can we do so? Listen actively. Show empathy. Respond lovingly. Who might notice, and see a new (and better) way forward?
This is our opportunity to demonstrate God’s healing power. As Romans 12:9 advises, “Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good.”
The other option? We can seek to win arguments … but if we lose souls in the process, what have we won?
(If you’re ready to embrace Christ, He’s ready for you. Visit C Suite for Christ to join in Christ-centered fellowship with other professionals. Submit a prayer request for a pressing need in your life. Follow C Suite for Christ on LinkedIn and Facebook. Questions? Contact Paul M. Neuberger at (414) 313-8338 or firstname.lastname@example.org.)