As I reflected on the harsh political rhetoric of this past summer, I was reminded of the words of the ancient writer of the Epistle of James:
“You must understand this, my beloved: let everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger, for your anger does not produce righteousness. Therefore rid yourselves of all sordidness and rank growth of wickedness, and welcome with meekness the implanted word that has the power to save your souls.
“But be doers of the word, and not merely hearers who deceive themselves. For if any are hearers of the word and not doers, they are like those who look at themselves in a mirror; for they look at themselves and, on going away, immediately forget what they look like. But those who look to the perfect law, the law of liberty, and persevere, being not hearers who forget but doers who act-they will be blessed in their doing.
“If any think they are religious, and do not bridle their tongues but deceive their hearts, their religion is worthless. Religion that is pure and undefiled is this: to care for the orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.”
[James 1:19-27, Inclusive Language translation]