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Civility #4—Civil Righteousness

Where jealousy and underhandedness exist, there is disruption and worthless practices. But wisdom from God is first pure, then peaceable, considerate, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial, and authentic. His wisdom, planted peacefully by peacemakers, yields righteousness. James 3:16–18

‘Politician’ has been a four-letter word for a long time. In the classical age of Greek civilization politicians had a reputation as unscrupulous, self-centered, underhanded, power-hungry rapscallions. A corrupt operating code made them argumentative, inconsiderate, incapable of persuasion, merciless, rotten, rigidly partisan, and hypocritical. It seems that not much has changed. But wait! It’s not just professional ‘politicians’ who devalue our communities by exalting themselves at the expense of others. Whenever life becomes difficult, whenever adversity bangs on our door, whenever trials test our faith in Jesus, we become vulnerable to the “politician virus.” If we allow our operating code to become infected by the jealousy and underhandedness of “earthly wisdom,” we will be disrupting influences in our communities. But if we whole-heartedly ask God for wisdom, he will give it to us generously and without reproach. The wisdom he provides fits best with the wisdom he uses to govern creation. When we employ it we will not be combative or unwilling to yield to another person’s persuasion. We’ll respond to people in trouble with the most appropriate aid, regardless of who receives the credit. We won’t prejudge a situation or say one thing and do another. Who would not want to live in community with us if we acted this way?

Wise God, may the prospect of true righteousness move us to be practical peacemakers.


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