"For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks" Matthew 12:34
According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary, the word civility means polite, reasonable, and respectful behavior. In my opinion, our society has swung so far in the other direction as I observe many individuals who do not exemplify the cited behaviors listed in the definition of the word. It seems more and more people these days speak, write, and use their words as weapons, to break-down or even try to destroy another's reputation, sense of self-worth, or feelings of security. As public figures for many years, I know that my family and I have been hurt by unkind and destructive written words, many of which are untrue. Some have also been opinions of our work or our looks which are mean-spirited and not helpful in any way. If you've had this happen to you or your family you may know what I'm talking about.
You've heard the saying, "sticks and stones can break my bones but words can never hurt me." In truth, often times the words that come out of our mouths can cut much deeper and injure much greater than most physical harm we may experience.
With the proliferation of the Internet and social media sites, it seems even easier for some individuals to sling angry, hurtful, thoughtless, and irresponsible words around. Words they would rarely say to another person if they were face-to-face. Words that are forever; as if they published a book and had it registered with The Library Of Congress. Angry, demeaning, unforgiving rhetoric posted on people's social media pages, "Tweeted out," text, or which are penned on any one of the numerous digital newspaper comment sites can do much to destroy someone's reputation, or even worse, can negatively affect their feelings of themselves to the point where we've even seen some young people tragically take their own life. Those who criticize and put others down in such brutal ways do not embody emotional health themselves. They attempt to "level the playing field" and they try to bring others down to their level by saying disparaging things to and about them.
How can we make a difference in this "playground of bullies?" To begin with, we must model what it looks like to lift others up by speaking edifying words and showing kind and helpful deeds. We need to teach and witness to them: "A rising tide lifts all boats." We must teach our children, our grandchildren, and other young people who are influenced by us that words are forever and once spoken or written are very difficult to take back. Like squeezing-out a tube of toothpaste....so easy to come out but try putting the toothpaste back in the tube.
|"Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing." Proverbs 12:18|
Let's be part of a solution and demonstrate what it looks like for people to treat others with respect and love. Let's start by only speaking and writing kind and polite words to one another. The health of our communities, our state, our nation, and our world depends on it.