It seems to me, when I look around the world, at all the intractable problems, wars, genocide, unrest, riots, terrorism, crime, etc… the only real problem we face is the breakdown of civility. Were we to follow the teachings of Jesus… and treat others as we would have them treat us, we would be civil, if we loved our neighbors as much as ourselves, civility would reign, when we look to the plank in our own eye rather than the mote in another’s, we are practicing civility. Those who are more than willing to cast the first stone, even though they themselves are not free of sin, are being uncivil. Civility is human heartedness in action. All the problems we seem to face have their root in civility, those who act violently, making war, ginning up war, rioting, looting, stealing and murdering, have thrown off the armor of civility and taken up the banner of barbarism.
I would think it obvious that any crime with a victim stems from a lack of civility. If one is treating others as they would be treated, only a masochist would treat others badly. We would have to say such a person is disconnected from reality in some way. Perhaps he has a deep seated self loathing. This is because we all know, people want pleasure, power and pomp. The man who slaps his wife would be very offended if he himself were slapped across the face, and so it is obvious that those who hand out evils to others are treating others, not as they themselves would be treated, but treating others as they themselves would never tolerate. You see… a lack of civility.
No one is built up by taring them down. When we ridicule others, for their own good, we are looking at the mote in the eye of another while ignoring the plank in our own. Genuine heartfelt help, when asked for it, with only a view to improve the lot of another is clearly practicing civility, but ridicule and complaining, only undermines the will to do better. Ordering someone to change this or that aspect of themselves is a clear message you think them, incompetent, lazy, inept, and many other phrases that follow from extending the logic. You raze a building to destroy it, people raze other people’s self esteem to destroy it, destroying a thing never builds it up. No matter if the person doing the razing has fooled themselves about it or not. It is best to look to solve our own problems, and there is not one among us who doesn’t have plenty, and let others solve their own, unless they ask for help.
Where would there be war if people loved their neighbors as themselves? Who would make war upon themselves? That would be absurd. Yet our world is filled with wars and rumors of wars, so we can say with certainty, that people are not loving their neighbors as themselves. People wage war, both politically and personally, for gain or revenge. In the case of gain it is just another word for stealing, and in the case of revenge it is the perpetuation of hatred, certainly not love. What is so hard about loving our neighbors? If they are rude simply smile and go on, if they are standoffish give them room, rather than be ready to be offended at the least provocation. The wise know that it is in our personal best interests to love our neighbors, and be forgiving, both in politics and in person.
Have you ever noticed the people who are always the first to cast stones at others usually live in glass houses? It’s like they think that by hurting someone else, that somehow cleans them of their sin, but of course, it only adds to their sin. Jesus hung out with prostitutes, tax collectors, fishermen, the lowest class at the time. He didn’t cling to the elite seeking fame through them, he lived a life without sin making him uniquely qualified to cast stones at sinners, yet he refused. Even though he could point a finger of blame at another, without three pointing back at him, he didn’t. It is self evident then, that for us with our sinful nature to cast stones at others, in any form, is not following Jesus’ example, and is not civil.
Every problem we face, as the human race, has it’s roots in a lack of civility. The more we move away from civility, treating others as we would not tolerate, hating our neighbors, poking at the more in other people’s eyes with our dirty fingers and casting stones away from our glass houses… the more our civilization, political, economic and social will crumble. You see, it is not wisdom to cast off true wisdom because it is old, but foolishness. To follow the new simply because it is new, is no different in logic than accepting as truth a thing, because it comes from authority. We know both in our hearts and in our minds that the truths, love thy neighbor, do unto others, look to the plank in our own eyes, and be civil, all the problems we face would simply vanish. But, it is too hard to do these things, and much easier… to bandage people, rebuild after wars, watch our loved ones die, console weeping family, lawyer up, avoid eye contact become accustomed to terror and accept crime.