God knows I have not always been good at this in the past.  If you were to poll those who knew me about my attributes, I would wager most would have some form of “hot blooded” near the top.  One of my favorite quotes is from Braveheart where Wallace says, “I’m going to go pick a fight!”  Yea, you get the picture.  That, is the (occasionally not so) old me.  I endeavor to get better.  Not getting rid of the passions that I have, but rather I strive to demonstrate civility, even with tough issues, in a manner similar to Christ.  As should we all.
For indeed it is hard to accomplish.  There are many issues of various natures that are very important.  Some of which others would judge us as hate filled for simply believing, beyond any of our actions.  I personally believe that homosexuality is a sin.  I a complementarian, and believe that women should not serve as pastor/elder in a church.  I believe what is known as the Word of Faith movement is directly inspired by and lead by Satan.  I also believe state sponsored socialism (aka Communism) is demonic as well.  There are many more that I could list.  And in most of these, when I say that I believe in them, those listening quickly label me as someone who hates.

Indeed a post-modernism breeds this response.  If everyone is right in their own way, than it is wrong to judge other’s for their beliefs and actions.  Never mind that the whole construction of that argument is hypocritical, it is a reality that we deal with today anytime we open our mouths.  Someone usually will not like what we say, regardless of the issue.

Jesus and the New Testament warn us that this will be the case.  That no matter how nice we are, people will hate us for presenting Christ Jesus as savior.  That is a reality we cannot avoid.  It is a reality that transfers in to other areas and issues that we may express our opinion on.  However, and here is the key, we should not throw out civility just because there are some who will always reject us.

I believe that we can express certain opinions, some of which may be exclude other views (like the belief homosexuality is a sin), yet be civil about it.  Again, we know that some views may not be received with civility, but that should not change the way we act.  For everything we do and say should be flowing out of Christ’s love in us.  Christ Jesus ate with the sinners; He regularly interacted with those who were completely and spectacularly wrong about everything.  The same goes for Paul going and interacting with pagans and unbelieving Jews.  We should strive to demonstrate the same love, care, and compassion in our actions, in our speech, that Christ Jesus our savior did.  Of course we will never reach that level of responsibility for our words/actions, so long as we are tied to this sinful flesh, but that still should be our goal.

Now you might say, “What about Jesus’s words calling Pharisees vipers! Or Paul’s use of garbage/refuge!”  Indeed, I do not deny that even Jesus and Paul used strong aggressive language against others.  But here are some things to consider.  First, we are not Jesus and Paul.  They had (have) authority that we never will.  Jesus walked on water, but we never will.  Second, looking at all of the words of Jesus and Paul, their “aggressive” statements against others are infrequent.  Indeed, there are appropriate times when such statements are necessary against those who oppose us and our views.  But those times are few and far between.  They should be reserved for the most dire of situations, in places where they would have the most effect.  If not, than they become nothing more than a intellectual version of Chicken Little.  If we are always being aggressively confrontational with others, we risk alienating the larger pool of listeners, so when something of clear and great importance arises, no body will still be listening.  Aggressive confrontations are sometimes necessary but should be kept rare.

But again, that does not mean we stop with what we are saying in the first place.  That does not mean we stop calling sin for what it is, sin!  It comes back to how we handle ourselves, our actions, and our speech.  One can call out a sinner in a civil matter.  One does not need to be aggressive with everything.

Once again, I know, more than maybe anyone else under God, that I have not always achieved what I speak of here.  I usually am good at the “Do as I say, not as I do!”  But I do strive to be better, to conduct myself better, to do it in a manner worthy of Christ Jesus who is the Lord of my life.  I will not always succeed, indeed not one of us will, but that does not excuse our lack of trying.