Screaming at the Screamers
The confrontation was very loud with profanities being hurled back and forth. One man was complaining that the other was interrupting his evening out with the family. How ironic. The tense, nose to nose confrontation of two men put an entire restaurant full of people on edge.
Normal dictates what feels right to us. Everywhere around us, the rhetoric is heating
Philippians 4:8 says, “And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise” (New Living Translation). In a climate that has become so coarse, this verse doesn’t even seem to be real. “Dear brothers and sisters?” That seems too nice. It is like we need to scream back at the screamers. But what good would that do? It only makes us part of the problem.
How do we stand up to the vile words and attitudes without becoming part of the problem? Nice doesn’t seem to get noticed. In the short term, I’m not sure there is a good answer. What seems right to me is that these things may need to play out. The vile soon becomes so vile, that both sides notice. The recent shooting of Rep. Steve Scalise had a bit of that impact. But it didn’t seem to last for long. It would appear that more ugly stuff will have to come along before people realize that escalating violence is not the way we want to live.
Ultimately the answer is not found in a response to a vile confrontation in a restaurant. It is found in the love of God impacting the hearts of hundreds, then thousands, and then millions. If there is not heart change in the life of one, the future of this nation is headed down the road of increasing sickness. Apart from the noise of the ugly confrontation, the love of God needs to penetrate the coarseness we are seeing or it will only get worse. Otherwise, the triggers will come and the hearts will explode in rage.
When I am working with a couple, I often talk about what happens away from the point of confrontation. We always want to do better during the blow up. Real communication is seldom possible at a point of struggle. But as things cool down, Philippians 4:8 can come into play. A person can step back and gain a better perspective. He can look for what God is doing or would want done. He can work to restore and heal. He can become a tool of God for restoration instead an agent of the demonic to destroy.
I believe that the profane explosions we are seeing are a result of people who do not know how to do quality relationship—with God or with people. If my work with addicts (and couples) has taught me anything, it is that screaming at the screamers won’t help. They need quality connection to invade their worlds. If that is true, we have a lot of work to do! Get started building!