While I have been on vacation, I have not been on vacation from the Internet. A great, useful tool, the internet. Useful for finding places to eat, communicating, stuff like that. And of course, great for... drama.
Now, I'm not going to tie into anything specific because, well, one, if there is specific drama and you don't know about it, why should I go air someone else's dirty laundry, and two, this is meant to apply in general.
Whenever there is a fight, an argument (and the internet is useful because you can backtrack and look at the way the discussion unfolds - when we talk, we are in the moment and have no rewind) one thing that is sure to be there is criticism. Lots and lots of criticism. In fact, most arguments are nothing but salvos of criticism launched off at each other over and over again in an attempt to see who can be more devastating, who can show the other to be more vile and wrong.
Now, consider the counter to this - it's something we as Lutherans should know better than any other (and yet so easily forget). Who are you, o Christian, to be more critical of -- yourself, or your neighbor?
Your neighbor's eye has the speck, but you have the log.
Who are you to be more critical of?
So ponder this. How often will we lambaste someone for something, but we will let something very similar that we do (or a friend does) slide by without any a thought. Or shoot, not without nary a thought, but rather with self-justifications abounding.
They are self-serving, but when I do the same thing, I'm serving God.
They are pandering to society, but when I do the same thing I'm just using my freedom.
They are vile and mean, but when I do the same thing I've just had a bad day.
They are so egotistical, but when I do the same thing it's just because I'm right.
They are being a jerk, but when I do the same thing it's just speaking the truth.
So on and so forth.
This is not how we are called to be. If anything, we are called to be critical of ourselves. We are Lutherans. We confess that we sin in thought, word and deed - we know that we are sinner and saint at the same time. So what does this mean?
You accuse me of a speck, and I will admit it, for I know my own log.
Of course, it goes further than that. Put the best construction on things. Explain things in the kindest way. Point out what is dangerous to the neighbor, but leave it at that.
They are accused of a log, and I will say, "There is a speck there, yes, but come, you who are spiritual restore that one in a spirit of gentleness".
IF anything, we as Lutherans should above all know how to be makers of peace - we are the ones most focused upon the Gospel of Christ Jesus and His redemption. Let us confess sins, for He has taken them all upon Himself; let us cover and defend our neighbor, for He has taken their sin as well.
God grant that we remember this in our homes, our workplaces, our voters' meetings, on-line, and everywhere we go. God help us to love our neighbor.