Forget the lovely weather and the fabulous success of the Olympics for a moment because why is the news so often full of bad news?
If it’s not people killing each other, they are criticising and slandering each other, and sometimes those in the public eye are the worst offenders.
But the temptation to think the worst of others, sometimes even to malign or gossip about others, can affect any organisation and any community because we often seem to delight in pulling others down rather than building them up.
Yet, sadly, that’s nothing new. Back in the first century, James wrote a letter to Christians in which he said: “It only takes a spark to set off a forest fire. A careless or wrongly placed word can do that. By our speech we can ruin the world, turn harmony to chaos, throw mud on a reputation, send the whole world up in smoke and go up in smoke with it. This is scary. With our tongues we bless God our Father; with the same tongues we curse the very men and women he made in his image. My friends this can’t go on.” (James 3: 1-13)
So, “Anyone who sets himself up as ‘religious’ by talking a good game is self-deceived. This kind of religion is hot air and only hot air. Real religion, the kind that passes muster before God the Father, is this: Reach out to the homeless and loveless in their plight, and guard against corruption from the godless world.“ (James 1: 19-27).
Therefore, “Don’t bad mouth each other, friends. It’s God’s Word, his message, his Royal Rule that takes a beating in that kind of talk. Let God work his will in you” (James 4: 1-12 The Message Bible). After all, Jesus himself said: “Words are powerful, take them seriously. Words can be your salvation. Words can also be your damnation.” (Matthew 12: 37)
But, of course, we might say how boring that would make life and television. After all, there would be no confrontation, no arguments, and no spectacle to watch. ‘Big Brother’ would lose its attraction and many of the soaps would have to be rewritten.
But what a better world, what a happier world it could be if, with God’s help, we treated others as we ourselves would like to be treated. Now that really would be Good News!
With best wishes,