The word is “cavil.”   According to the dictionary it means to oppose with              inconsequential, frivolous issues and to raise sham irritating and trivial objections; to find fault unnecessarily.  Cavil especially comes to mind during political seasons.  Instead of listening to serious adult issues discussed in a respectful manner we witness an abundance of caviling.  Few things in life are impervious to spin. If Jesus were running for office His treatment of sinners would have provided fodder for cavilers because it was obvious He was “soft on crime.”

I raise this not because I want to condemn the system (I don’t have to.  It condemns itself.) but because I am smitten with guilt.  Through the years I have observed leadership that could do no right in my eyes.  No matter what they did I could find a way to criticize.  If I heard a good sermon I could figure out a way to find fault.  If the sermon was perfect (It never is.) then I could find fault with the way the preacher was dressed or a mannerism I did not like.

Jesus had had enough of it and in Matthew 23 He explodes with frustration over the hypocritical cavilers.  I cringe when I read what He said because it is so easy to gloatingly remove ourselves from His comments and think they were only directed at the then leadership.

I wonder if there is an antonym for cavil?  I wonder how much more we would enjoy life if we spent our mental energies finding good in others and appreciating their efforts?  What if we send them messages telling them how good they do?  How good would life be if we recognized that everyone is trying his or her best to be good and to thank them and rejoice in their successes.

Written by Roger Bothwell on March 29, 2016