Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure is one of those movies from my childhood that you would not typically think would be a source of wisdom. Yet, near the end, Bill S. Preston, Esq., utters a line that we need to hear today: “Be excellent to each other.”
Funny how sometimes certain things in pop culture articulate a much-needed biblical truth…in their own way.
Let’s face it, 2016 was a year of much vitriol, especially in a bitter political race. You had some Christian leaders seeming to question the spiritual maturity of those voting for one candidate, and others calling those not voting for the same candidate hypocrites and “namby-pamby, panty-waisted weak-kneed Christians.” Over such things, much ink (pixelated ink?) has been spilt, but the simple fact we have been devoted to such discussions (arguments?) betrays the sad reality: Our attitudes about each other as Christians was more influenced by the tone of the worldly than the admonitions to the godly.
We, as humans, are passionate beings. We just let our passions get carried along by the wrong currents at times.
Paul knew this 2000 years ago. Having left Titus in charge of assisting and ordering the fledgling churches in Crete, he told Titus to remind the Cretan Christians: “…to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people” (Titus 3:1-2). Or, in the more modern words of an adventuring dude: Be excellent to each other.
Of course, we can expect certain things to remain true. Certain political pundits on TV, radio, and the internet will continue to bash, berate, and be anything but excellent to others. Certain politicians will continue to belittle and stir up strife. Certain bloggers will write as if 1 Corinthians 13 doesn’t exist in their Bibles, because they are guardians of discernment in their own minds. Certain protesters will still line the streets shouting how God hates everyone but them.
When we encounter such attitudes and actions, we need to remember that we too “were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another” (Titus 3:3).
But, now in Christ, washed, redeemed, and filled with the Holy Spirit, our lives and words are to tell a different story, a more excellent story, in person and on our computer screens (Titus 3:4-9).
Soon we will flip our calendars and 2016 will be no more. We’ve spent enough time bare knuckle boxing. It’s time to let the bruises and busted knuckles heal. It’s past time that we devote ourselves to what is “excellent and profitable for people” and avoid the foolish controversies and quarrels that are “unprofitable and worthless” (Titus 3:8-9).
Let’s step into 2017, not looking to pick a fight, but being excellent to each other by showing one another love and grace, giving each other the benefit of the doubt, spurring on one another to growth in Jesus, and showing the world the awesome love and glory of our Lord through our word and deeds.