WASHINGTON – Instances of politically motivated harassment and bullying are dominating headlines these days, causing many to ask – are we losing civility in our country?
Senate Chaplain Barry Black thinks, sadly, we are.
"When, because of political differences, people can't with their families enjoy the freedoms that this nation provides, we've got a serious problem," says Black.
For 15 years, Chaplain Black has ministered to senators and their staff from his office in the Capitol. He told CBN News he's concerned with what's happening today.
"A lot of incivility has to do with arrogance, swagger, trash talking," said Black. "I think it's critically important that we lower the decibels. Proverbs 15:1 says, "A soft answer turns away anger", and we obey the Golden Rule, Matthew 7:12: "Treat others like you want to be treated."
Black says this rough and tumble world provides Christians a real opportunity.
"I think Christians should be leading the charge in returning to civility by practicing what we teach and preach," explains Black. "Many times we have the rhetoric, but our actions will not back up the rhetoric."
Black says he witnesses that leadership in a bipartisan group of 25-30 senators who attend his weekly Bible study.
"One senator said it's very difficult to pray for one another and then to leave the prayer breakfast and go up to the chamber and verbally stab that person whose hand you've just been holding," recounted Black. "We end the prayer breakfast joined hands praying."
He adds that Americans would be surprised to know how much prayer happens daily inside the Capitol.
"There are many, many lawmakers who are modeling civility," says Black. "The challenge is that the legislative process by its very nature is adversarial."
When asked about the president's often strident tweets, Black responded that God works in mysterious ways. He referenced the story of Joseph and his brothers in the Bible and said that we never know how God will take something the enemy meant for evil and use it for His good.
"My reaction is Romans 8:28: In everything God is working for the good of those who love Him who have been called according to His purposes," continued Black.
And he reminds citizens of the power in praying for wisdom for all our leaders.
"One of the things we fail to do as citizens that would be very powerful is to pray more for our leaders," claims Black. "The problems that we face require supernatural wisdom, we're not smart enough to solve many of our problems without divine guidance."
And when asked about how to return to civility, Black turns to God's promise in the Bible.
"I think our citizens need to remember 2 Chronicles 7:14, and this is a promise that God will supernaturally bring healing to our nation, and that means all the branches of our government, and healing means greater civility," explained Black. "Whether the branches want healing or not, God says if My folk will do those things, they will bring healing to our nation."
This story was first published in July of 2018, but with the ongoing lack of civility in America, it's worth revisiting.