Associated with the word civilization, civility was for a long time the way most of us related to each other, even when we disagreed, even when we disagreed strongly. 

It was sometimes called disagreeing without being disagreeable. It would appear that for the most part that has diminished to a large extent in our civilization/society today.

Labor negotiations have taken on a tone of hostility. Strikes used to involve walking a picket line with a sign. 

Now violence has occupied the forefront where there used to be negotiations.

The world of politics has become a nasty violent scene. The evening news seems

not to be able to take place without political violence holding a central place.

Some years ago a man was elected president, a man with whom I disagreed on most subjects, but he was our president, our nations president, therefore my president. I, nor anyone else as I recall, rioted.

This country, though not a Christian country, was founded on Christian principles, and many of our citizens are Christians. 

One of those Christian principles is located in the 13th chapter of St Paul’s letter to the believers in Rome, verse 7, “Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, RESPECT TO WHOM RESPECT IS OWNED, HONOR TO WHOM HONOR IS OWED.”

If one has been elected to a notable position, if one holds an office of distinction, if one is a wonderful and positive contributor to our community, these people are worthy of respect and honor. 

We seem to honor rock stars and athletes and people who have violated the law and have “gotten away with it.” 

We seem not to honor father and mother as we ought, the fourth commandment, the first commandment with a promise. 

We seem not to honor those placed in authority over us like teachers, police officers. In San Antonio their firefighters, who ought to be respected and held in high esteem, need to wear bullet proof vest when they go to the scene of a fire.

Why all this incivility and lack of respect you ask? We took God and prayer out of our schools decades age and with that we took the reason to live together in harmony, respect, dignity, and honor out of our children’s, now grown into adulthood, lives.

So we kill and maim a few dozen in Chicago over the weekend. So we protest the president everywhere and every time he appears. So we ‘dis’ our parents, teachers, police officers, firemen… SO WHAT!

So we are the poorer societally and personally because of it. 

Is there a remedy? Yes! “Return to the Lord your God, for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love.” Joel 2:13 Take your family back to church where you will learn again, “Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.” Romans 13:8.


Rev. M. J. Nicolaus, Ph. D., vacancy Pastor, Concordia Lutheran Church, Williston

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