Have you ever looked at countries where civil unrest is common and thought to yourself, "What is wrong with this place?" There are countries where angry mobs are among the realities of life, always just one step away from forming, where people on the wrong side live in fear of their lives. Have you ever watched TV footage of a screaming, enraged mob and thought to yourself, "How do things get this bad?" These people have probably never heard it proclaimed, "Do not let the sun set on your anger" (Ephesians 4:26) or "Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice." (Ephesians 4:31). They may have never heard, "Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, pray for those who mistreat you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven" (Luke 6:28 & Matthew 5:44-45). These words are touchstones of life, words that keep us sane and steady. Without them, entire cultures can become prisoners of hatred and rage. It happens when we fail to proclaim God's word to them, which could heal their land.
In our own land, the political parties have sunk to new lows of mutual hatred. The rhetoric on each side routinely dehumanizes people who disagree with the party line. "Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice" needs to be proclaimed again in our own lands, and boldly.
Whenever we see personal or cultural self-destruction, erosion or decay, one of the fenceposts of sanity has been uprooted -- or has never been planted. When we proclaim the words that Christ and his followers spoke, we are working to reclaim lives from despair and anger, from bitterness and malice, from lust or greed, from being swept along by our lowest passions which are unthinking, unloving, and destructive. "Blessed are the peacemakers, blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness" are words that need to be proclaimed from the rooftops again. "Everyone who says, 'You fool!' will be in danger of the fire of hell" needs to become part of our national conscience again. I have trouble remembering the last time I heard a heated argument where the language was as mild as "You fool"; worse insults than that are now passed off as jokes, and mocking those who disagree is routine. God help us.
I have seen that many Christians face a crisis of confidence in proclaiming God's word. And so the decay continues wherever the Christians lack confidence, or wherever Christians have not yet ventured to proclaim Christ's words. The words of Christ bring healing to the land; knowing God is a blessing.