Friday, July 17, 2015

War of Words

Words are whirling like a storm, like bullets flying, like glass shattered in the wind.

We use more words today than ever before in history, and we have more media platforms to say them, text them, post them.

For all that, so many of our words boil down to people saying things to people about other people.

We classify our discourse as expressing opinion, conveying information, or engaging in journalism, scholarship, analysis, etc., etc., etc. Yet what so much of it really is, in the end, is one form or another of self-affirmation, gossip, unnecessary curiosity, detraction, calumny, or cynicism.

We use words to assert ourselves, or to make war on one another. And our words express what is inside our hearts. We have hearts full of violence.

This has much to do with lack of real communication that displays itself so fiercely in Internet comboxes and social media networks, as well as in human interactions in so many other areas. Here online, it can become a concentrated barrage. Multimedia words and images, comments sharp as daggers, unfounded accusations and personal attacks.

It becomes difficult to remember the topic or controversy, to keep it focused and grounded, much less to embark with others on a journey to find the truth or deepen our understanding of it. I know very well that some of these matters are urgent and that it is necessary to fight for the good. Too often, however, a perceived "expedience" trumps respect for human persons.

We have let the sun go down on our anger. When anger takes over, the first casualty is beauty. If we speak the truth without its splendor (which has nothing to do with fancy words), we fail to communicate, we fail to help others to see reality. We can put the shape of our own desperate anger even on the truth. It's not surprising that others don't listen, or that they strike back. Our words attack them like a knife in the stomach.

The word "hate" is tossed about. All kinds of accusations abound from all sides. Are we really fighting for the good. Are we fighting for love?

Or are we trying to "win" our own victory? Are we lashing out in perceived self-defense, frustration, or to cover up our own problems?

Often it's a tangled combination of all these motives all mixed up together.

I have asked myself, "How often, when I speak or write, are my words aimed at distraction, or at defensiveness, or at drawing attention to myself? And what am I looking for when I listen to or read the words of others?" How many wasted words! Foolish words. It becomes draining and discouraging, this war of words.

I think perhaps we use words foolishly because we are insecure. We are insecure.


Because we are afraid that we are not loved. Or, rather, we have forgotten that we are loved. We are not nourished by a vital connection with the One who loves us. We need prayer.

And not just more words of prayer. We need silence.

We need to let Him love us.