Today I read that Ann Coulter, a U.S. political commentator, had called one of the political candidates a faggot, which means an effeminate. I don’t actually know much about Ann, but I understand why she did it: She wanted to please her audience, she wanted to score some quick points, she wanted to be cool and for people to say “ooh, that’s Ann!” That is to say, she did it for the same reason we all do that sort of thing.
A little later, I was listening to Luke 6:45: “The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” Want to say something cute, something a little cutting, something racy? We all do. But what does it say about us? It’s the treasure of our hearts. Cutting, disparagement, mocking – like a cough or fever or rash, these betray what we carry inside.
It gets worse though. Think about Matthew 5:22: “But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother? will be liable to judgment; whoever insults? his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell? of fire.” God’s law demands unblemished perfection of us, and it demands it not simply in action but in attitude, in the parts we hold secret inside of us. We cannot achieve such perfection, and so we seek forgiveness, but if we aren’t constantly striving for such perfection, if we let it have a pass, are we so sure we are among the elect? Not that works bring salvation in any way, but salvation invariably brings works, and the heart is utterly deceitful. What a terrible recognition it would be to find that no, we had never had faith!
Unfounded accusations would seem to be another thing for Christians to fear. Is her target what she claims to be? Does that matter? Imagine answering to God for such a statement, particularly if it wasn’t true. Character assassination has no part in being Christian.
Whichever side of politics or sports or business you are on doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter what a disaster it would be for your country or for the whole world if your opponent is elected or your team loses or your company doesn’t make its targets – your words and your inmost thoughts are to be ones of grace and forgiveness. Your words are a witness to your lord, either for credit or discredit.