America has a TERRIBLE problem with discussing important issues! One side starts name calling, the other side gets nasty, which makes the first group get even nastier. Saying something even slightly offensive, true or not, can incite violence and ruin lives! Even I try to be nice, but I have a sarcastic streak a mile wide. It should not be this way. Not only does it blind the other side to any truths that you are speaking, That is not the way Jesus wanted it.
Yes, sometimes he was rough
Matthew 23:33 (HCSB)
33 “Snakes! Brood of vipers! How can you escape being condemned to hell?
He however was like this to people who should have known better like the Pharisees , and could be interpreted as a warning.
To people who were not immersed in Judaism he was often gentle.
For example the woman at the well was a Samaritan , while they may have been close geographically they did not communicate with each other, so there is a lot that they did not know about each other.
John 4:9 “How is it that You, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?” she asked Him. For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.
She had also had 5 husbands and she was currently living with a man that was not her husband. Since she was getting water late in the day, rather than in the cool morning, she probably was a pariah to the other woman in town. She preferred dealing with the heat rather than dealing with the other woman in town. For most of history that kind of life would have marked a woman in ways that I prefer not to mention. Yet Jesus was gentle with her.
John 4:16-18 (HCSB)
16 “Go call your husband,” He told her, “and come back here.” “I don’t have a husband,” she answered. “You have correctly said, ‘I don’t have a husband,’” Jesus said. 18 “For you’ve had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have said is true.”
He did not call her any of the names that she had probably grown to expect, he simply affirmed that she spoke the truth.
He was nice to her, like we should be to others. In our culture today, many are more like the Samaritans than the Pharisees.
It can be really hard to be nice to some people, especially now days when children can get attacked for wearing a hat that someone dislikes, but we are called to do that.
It may help to know that the Bible says in
Proverbs 25:21-22 (HCSB)
21 If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat,
and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink;
22 for you will heap burning coals on his head,
and the Lord will reward you.
While our culture may have taught us differently, it is so true most of the time. Have you ever lied to someone who was nothing but nice to you, before and after you did it? That can be very painful to know that you don’t deserve their love. It may in fact encourage you to do better in the future. It could even stop this crazy cycle of getting meaner and meaner to people who disagree with us.
27 “But I say to you who listen: Love your enemies, do what is good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29 If anyone hits you on the cheek, offer the other also. And if anyone takes away your coat, don’t hold back your shirt either.