Pastor’s viewpoint: June 15, 2019
Published 10:54 am Saturday, June 15, 2019
Remember when motel rooms had two back-to-back doors that connected the adjoining rooms with each other? There were two doors, because the people in both rooms could decide to open their door … or not. A family could use two rooms, opening the two doors to create a passageway from one room into the other. Or they could keep their doors locked because they didn’t know who was in the other room.
My friend and pastor while I was in seminary, Dr. David Seamands, told me something like that when he told me that two people must do their part if they are separated. One person must repent of whatever caused the separation and the other person must forgive whatever caused the separation to create reconciliation. Now you know I like formulas, so “repentance plus forgiveness equals reconciliation.” But if either person refuses, reconciliation is impossible.
And now motel rooms don’t have connecting doors … and repentance and forgiveness are not common terms … and we are more separated than we’ve ever been in my lifetime. We don’t disagree; we attack. We don’t discuss with each other; we yell at each other.
Even our language is changing. Jonathan Merritt, in his book, Learning to Speak God from Scratch, has discovered that language about Christian virtues is, unfortunately, declining right along with God talk. Since the early 20th century, humility words like “modesty” have fallen by 52 percent. Compassion words like “kindness” have dropped by 56 percent. Gratitude words like “thankfulness” have declined by 49 percent. When such words fall out of circulation, our entire culture suffers.