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Promises

Civility #6—Life-Giving Civility

Do you want to really live? Would you love to live a long, happy life? Then make sure you don’t speak evil words or use deceptive speech! Turn away from evil and do what is right! Pursue peace and promote it! Psalm 34:12–14

Isolation inspires insanity—and death! Cut off from positive human interaction, we human beings drown in the sea of our own inadequacy; we are not good enough, on our own, to satisfy ourselves. We could be isolated by circumstances: marooned on a desert isle or awakened 100 years early on a flight to a far planet. Usually, however, we construct the catapult that launches us into the depths of lonely, deranged desperation out of evil and treacherous words. Syllable by syllable we separate ourselves; sentence by sentence we sever the ties that bind us to love, to life. Communion with other people, and the long, joyful life that arises from it, results from our efforts to relate to them without deceit, duplicity, dishonesty, or dissimulation. To pursue and promote a state of peace—a context of integrity—between ourselves and everyone around us, we must speak words that are good for building up, not for tearing down; words that please rather than provoke; words of cooperation rather than words of corruption. As we look to God for the right words at the right time, our mouths become fountains of life and fields that feed the souls of all who hear—including ourselves.

Gracious Lord, let me hear you as you speak peace to me, so that I will not be foolish as I speak to others. Amen.

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