I grew up in small town America. Our home sat on the border between Campbell and Los Gatos, California in the Silicon Valley before the silicon and crowds arrived. My street was a dead end with only six homes along one side. Our home was surrounded by orchards. Behind our back fence was an orchard owned by Mr. Ashlock. Mr. Ashlock’s son, Ron, was my best friend.
One December a very rare snowfall took place. Maybe an entire inch fell on the valley floor. For Ron and me it was a time to run through his dad’s orchard and have snowball fights. After getting bored pounding each other with fluffy snow balls, we had the bright idea to put a rock inside a snowball and wait behind one of the big pepper trees at the entrance to Ron’s home. Our plan was to chuck it at a passing car.
After a few minutes a really nice red sports car drove by and I wound up like a major league pitcher and hurled my snow-encrusted rock at the side of the passing sports car and scored a direct hit. At the moment of impact two thoughts crossed to mind. The first, “What? I actually hit it?” And the second, “Why is the driver slamming on his brakes and flinging open his door looking so angrily in our direction?” The red-faced, bulging-neck-veined man looked to be about 30 and in good shape. He bailed out of the sports car leaving it in the middle of road at the scene of the crime and took off after us. I knew we were about to be executed. Ron and I experienced a huge dump of adrenal fluid and ran so fast that Usain Bolt would have been proud of our running skill had he been alive at the time to witness the event.
The man was no match for two adrenal-hyped 9 year old boys who knew the orchard like the back of their hand. We finally hid in some weeds as the man blasted by us shouting words my young ears had not yet heard. Ron and I stayed away from the pepper trees for a few days.
That incident of youthful foolishness came to mind today as I consider how the cultural rhetoric and social media postings are heating up as the presidential election is fast approaching. It seems like some people on social media can only post demeaning information about the candidate of their disliking. This is being fueled by television networks, blogs and news outlets that support their particular worldview. People have decided to put rocks in their snowballs because they think kindness and civility will no longer get anyone’s attention.
When this election cycle is over the words we throw at each other with the rocks of our hardened opinion hidden inside will do nothing to change the hearts of people. These hard words will only dent lives and cause people to runaway in fear. This is all playing into the hand of a dark kingdom agenda that wants to hijack the voice of the Church by making us sound as angry as the confused culture. You and I carry the destiny of our nation. Our words and actions should reflect that assignment.
“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” Colossians 4:6