The old saying “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me,” is a myth. Many words today are meant to do violence to a person, to demean them, to demonize them, or to dehumanize them. Words that use to simply identify someone are now used to discredit the value of a person. Example of two today would be to call a person a Democrat or a Republican with inflammatory qualifications such as liberal or conservative or radical. The way the words are said, with inflections, are intended to denigrate a person’s character, or discount their position on issues even to the point of claiming the other to be unAmerican.
I believe that we can see today the power of words to hurt us and tear us down, to do violence to us. However, I also believe that words can be uplifting and healing. Words can bring comfort and encouragement.
Words can reflect our better relationships and foster more affirming attitudes towards others. Such words as love, agape love, forgiveness, justice, and harmony. These words strengthen or relationships, builds up a person, creates harmony among folks, and shows forth valuing a person. Affirming words promotes unity. When I mean by unity is not uniformity. I value diversity which adds joy, and richness to life.
May we today be aware of how we use our words and the meaning they carry behind them. May we seek to affirm others, to build up the community of faith, and to create a loving environment for all. Amen