I sometimes wonder if we would be so quick to spout our opinions if we knew another person’s story. In the last few days, a person who is dear to me, shared on social media her view of a hot topic social issue.
I was shocked how quickly my heart went to my throat. I felt an ache in my chest from her words. I wondered if she knew how her friends were touched by that very issue.
My friend, whom I treasure, may think her words were empowering, but in reality, they injured. My friend’s perspective was that this issue is a “needed action.” I wonder if she knew that the same “needed action” if it had been successful, would mean that I wouldn’t be here. I wouldn’t be a wife, a mother, a sister, a daughter. I wouldn’t be her friend.
Dear Ones, we seem to have forgotten to listen with our ears, our hearts, and to listen with compassion. Instead, we seem to listen to another person only to give us time to plan and prepare a rebuttal. We have become a society of “spouters” and have forgotten to be a society of thinkers.
When we pass judgment, we miss the opportunity to love, to engage, to embrace others as Jesus did. When we strive to push our ideas, views, and opinions ahead of the heart, life, and story of other people, they lose value and worth in our eyes and hearts.
If we decide someone is “less than” what we have set as a standard, we miss out on the purpose God has given to each of us. We miss their story. We miss the opportunity to be used by God to impact their lives for the good.
O Best Beloved, let us remember that when we speak, post, or comment, our words will strike deeply in those we are friends with in life. We have been cautioned by James to watch our actions because what we do will have an impact on those around us.
My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires (James 1:19-20).
Our actions, our decisions, have the ability to build up, to help grow, to help encourage people. Or our words can tear apart people, friendships, families, devaluing the very person who was created imago Dei.
What would our lives be like, our communities, our world itself, if we wouldn’t be so quick to devalue human life?