BBC Sussex and BBC Surrey Sunday Breakfast 60-second sermon

This morning, Graham Nicholls was live in the studio as part of BBC Sussex and BBC Surrey Sunday Breakfast with Emily Jeffery. During the programme, Graham looked at the papers and offered this sixty-second sermon: 

How would you rate the quality of discourse within Parliament lately?

It is interesting to see what a difference a week makes.

Turn on your TV in recent days and you might conclude that courtesy and mutual respect are sadly lacking. Passions are certainly running high, and as we await a decision on the Prime Minister's new Brexit deal this will no doubt continue.

There is, of course, a degree of exaggeration going on about how bad things are, fuelled by the desire for another story, especially on social media.

However, the way many public figures talk about each another does seems to be at a low ebb and getting worse. All sides in the ongoing political debates about Brexit have allowed the rhetoric to become untamed - to ramp up the level of insult, outrage, name-calling and offence-taking to new heights. They seem to be stirring up discord in order to gain an advantage and at the same time self-righteously looking down on all others who do the same, attributing pure motives and reasonableness to their side of the argument only.

However, Proverbs 15:1 says

A gentle answer turns away wrath,
but a harsh word stirs up anger.

I believe this wisdom is urgently needed in our public debate but not just for our politicians. We need to take it to heart ourselves. How many times have we answered others in ways that stir up dissent, incite anger or repay wrath with retribution in our everyday lives?

This may not be in full-throated shouting matches such as we have witnessed in the House of Commons, but even in our supposedly polite dialogue we may be doing more tearing down rather than building up as we speak with one another.

Those of faith should be leading the way in careful speech, being both loving and truthful. We may sometimes express differing opinions but should never use “the words of the reckless” but rather “the tongue of the wise… which brings healing” (Proverbs 12:18).

Have a great day.


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