Home > Civility > The Power of Words

For someone who gets paid to speak and write, I find myself speechless in light of the unspeakable criminal hurricane that hit our nation this past week.  Sending pipe bombs in the mail, whether they were detonated or not, is still terrorism, and violence is never the answer to settling a difference.  In Pittsburgh, a gunman (I won’t use his name) with calculated forethought entered into a place of worship and massacred 11 people in cold blood; this act is revolting and unbelievable.  I can’t even imagine getting a call that one of my family members was gunned down by a very sick madman while worshipping.  I use the word madman in reference to the killer because Jesus used the same kind of language.  It was Jesus who declared that unresolved anger can lead to murder, and Sunday in Pittsburgh, those words were proven true once again to a shocked nation.

This week finger pointing has kicked into overdrive, and we’re all witnessing the negative impact of the power of words. President Trump is being held responsible by some for igniting the word bombs against his political opponents, while he blames the media, who he calls the “real enemy of the people”. The media refuses to accept any blame for pouring word fuel on the verbal inferno.  Some media outlets resemble the “king who had no clothes”.  As the saying goes, denial is not just a river in Egypt, and the media is drowning in a torrent of words that has exceeded its banks or boundaries.  All of this is madness, and words have become bullets that are destroying the fabric of our republic.

Next week we will go to the polls for mid-term elections, and this craziness has found its way into political ads that vilify one’s opponent.  Regardless of who wins, some of the losers very well may react with vengeance, and at the end of the day we will all have lost.  We will have lost our sense of decency, our self-respect, and our ability to accept the will of the people with class.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll state it again, we are in a civil war that is anything but civil.  The bullets are Twitter, Facebook, 24-hour news cycles, and talk radio to name a few sources that fire words with their electronic weapons, and make no mistake, they are deadly. Incivility is a cancer that is destroying our nation one cell at a time.  If we don’t stop this madness, more people are going to die. How many mass shootings is it going to take before we as a collective people say ENOUGH?

I’m pleading with anyone who is reading this weekly blog to please think deeply before you use your electronic device to shoot someone with words or shout someone down with rudeness.  I’m appealing to the pastors and faith leaders to please use their sacred positions as peacemakers, to speak publicly to their congregations about what God’s Word says about our speech and its potential impact.  I’m appealing to the media outlets to please stop the adversarial bantering that resembles a street fight at its worst.  I ask all politicians to humble themselves and take the high road by reaching across the aisle to find common ground rather than “stand your ground”.  I’m out of words, so I’ll stop now and pray.

Dear Heavenly Father, how your heart must break as you watch your creation attack one another like predators going after their prey.  Please move upon your people to stop preying and start praying.  Please forgive us for our willful attacks toward those who are different than us or those who hold a different world view than our own.  Please save us from ourselves and give us the grace to “turn the other cheek” rather than “making a point”.  Help us to build bridges rather than plow through them.  May our words be edifying and uplifting as we share the love, hope, and peace of our Savior.  In the name of Your Son, Christ Jesus the Lord, AMEN!

3 Comments, RSS

  • Michael Solosky

    says on:
    October 31, 2018 at 10:00 am

    Pastor Mark,

    Your words are thought provoking and much needed in our society today. It goes beyond the politicians though. As Christians we all need to be aware of the words we speak and the tone of those words which we use with others. I mention this because I was recently reminded of my own shortcomings in this area of my life. We pray that God would help us to speak with kindness to anyone with whom we are going to speak. That is not always easy to do but it is the right thing to do.

  • Denise Leipold

    says on:
    October 31, 2018 at 10:19 am

    Well said, Mark! I think a lot of the problem is that many people have become “Sunday Christians” and don’t practice what they learn at church. That, and the destruction of the stable family have lead people to not be responsible for their own words and actions, and always blame the consequences on someone else. We have to always look to Christ for our stability, and to realize that we all need to work and live together to make humanity work.

  • Rosalie Cafield

    says on:
    October 31, 2018 at 3:15 pm

    Mark, your plea for civility, humility, and kindness is timely, and well said. The very fabric of America is shredding and the media is as responsible as those who have lost all sense of decency and integrity and project their hatred through social media. This is the time when the Church in America must acknowledge its failings as well as its responsibility to teach the unadulterated Word of God, to examine the life of Jesus and purpose to become genuine followers of Christ. There is a moral bankruptcy in America, not only in Washington, but in the Church. Without moral integrity, we will lose our nation.