Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

How's Your Conversation?

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

How's Your Conversation?

Article excerpt

I spent some time being upset by the derogatory remarks made by talk show host Don Imus about the Rutgers women's basketball team. Then I spent some time in quiet reflection and prayer.

The first thought that came to me was this question: "How's your conversation these days?" This wasn't exactly the inspiration I'd expected, but since it felt like an answer to my prayer, I decided I would take it seriously.

I thought about how I watched the news. I realized that I was constantly commenting on it - carrying on a mental conversation. My reactions and comments were either horrified, angry, or judgmental. I justified my reactions by telling myself that people were doing something wrong and that I couldn't help feeling these emotions.

But praying about this was helping me feel a bit more open and humble. So what once seemed like such rational and plausible justifications for criticism began to feel a bit flimsy and self- serving.

I'm an avid Bible reader, and I recently read a story that Jesus told about those who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else.

Two men went up to the temple to pray - one a Pharisee, and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee prayed like this: " 'God, I thank you that I am not like other men - robbers, evildoers, adulterers - or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.'" The tax collector stood at a distance, not daring even to look up, and said, " 'God, have mercy on me, a sinner.' "

Jesus' comment: " 'I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted' " (Luke 18:9-14, New International Version).

At first I thought this story made some good points but that it wasn't aimed at me. …

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