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Last week, I had a newsletter that explained my thoughts on the Convention of States, and wow, I had quite an eye-opening moment. I received several text messages that were filled with venom and anger and several emails exhorting how terrible I was. I don’t tell you this for you to feel sorry for me because I have broad shoulders and can bear the weight of those attacks, but I was reminded during church service on Sunday how Paul reminded the Corinthians to move through conflict and trials.

Father Brian Hughes taught this lesson to give credit where credit is due, and I listened and learned from him. While I hope I do not plagiarize, I am sure that, at the very least, some of what I say will be words that Father Brian said.

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In the days when Paul wrote to the Corinthians, there was much strife and in-fighting within the Church in Corinth. That sounds familiar today, does it not? While there is some in-fighting within the Church, there is also fighting within politics, schools, and just about anything that two people can be passionate about.

I blame social media for the uncivil atmosphere of our culture right now, but regardless, Paul gave an excellent way for us to get through to a civil and just conclusion of a dispute.

Funny as it is, Paul’s scripture on the matter has become a very popular wedding and marriage verse that many know right away when you hear, love is patient. 1 Corinthians 13 reads: 4-7: Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

While this is great scripture when dealing with your spouse and loving your spouse, it is also great when dealing with people in general. If you read the scripture above and lived within it in the context of marriage, wouldn’t all marriages be great?

However, if you read the scripture above in the context of relationships outside the marriage, wouldn’t it be awesome if we were to follow that scripture as well.

So, why bring this scripture and the sermon up regarding how I was treated this weekend after a newsletter? Again, I don’t bring it up so you will feel sorry for me or any other reason except to say if I am being treated like that, then what of others, and why would we treat our friends, neighbors, and fellow citizens poorly? Have we become a state and nation of bullies whose goal is that when we disagree with our neighbors, we will just bully them into submission?

With that said, I believe there are genuinely times when one must fight and be “all in” when dealing with other people. I spent over 27 months in combat zones across the Middle East, so I know all about the fight. In sharing our ideals and thoughts, though, we have the 1st Amendment to think about. It says that every person in the United States has a right to believe and say what they want if they are not hurting someone. For instance, you can’t yell fire in a crowded theater and claim 1st Amendment protections.

I think it comes down to Paul in 1 Corinthians saying treat others as you would be treated, otherwise known as the golden rule. This is a good standard, whether we are talking politics, the weather, or religion. Having written several letters with religion being part of it, I will now be criticized and chastised for having a religious stance. Just know that I know what I signed up for. I am ok with that because it is what our country is all about. I don’t ask you to be ok with my thoughts, but I ask that you give me the right to think about them. The next time you think to criticize or talk harshly to someone, be it your spouse, friend, or the person down the street, give a thought to Love is Patient, and maybe each person’s life will be much better.

Author: John Wills

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