It might come as a surprise to some but in April, I
will be celebrating what is thought of as a significant birthday. Rather
than focus on the congratulations factor, I want to explore the possibility of
creating a kinder and gentler community. Perhaps
a nonbiased place where we show compassion to others and focus on what we can do
together to create a neighborhood where we live in harmony.
I am extremely thankful for what I have received
over the years; I am surrounded by loving family and friends, I have reasonably
good health, and I enjoy a safe environment in which to dwell. I
am a member of a church where I am free to worship and the members are a loving
am blessed with the ability to express my opinion in a thoughtful way and impart
my feelings with compassionate words that are shared
with readers near and far. I
do not consider any of these things to be luck; I accept each of them as gifts
from Jesus and by the grace of God.
It is heartbreaking to
hear or read about acquaintances using bitter words; for my birthday and for the
coming days, I yearn to control the hateful words that are designed to hurt
Church sang about it in a song introduced in 2015 and the concept remains true
today, if we could only stop the hate that is produced by words of anger.
"If I could kill a word
and watch it die I'd poison never, shoot goodbye, beat regret when I felt the
you can't unhear, you can't unsay but if were up to me to change, I'd turn lies
and hate to love and truth, if I could only kill a word." It
is easy to see that the songwriter has also suffered from hateful words.
Sticks and stones may
break your bones but name calling is just as hurtful; if mere language can help
or hurt the situation why choose to use the cruel words? I
understand the need for debates and reasons for disagreements. Everyone
certainly has the right to express their opinion but there are better ways to
articulate the thoughts than using words that do potential harm. Harmful
thoughts that are conveyed in order to do damage are usually unnecessary.
Just because someone
wears a certain color tie, watches a controversial movie or sends their children
to a different school does not mean that they deserve to be assigned a label. Labels
that are designed to demean a person or group are insensitive. Why
not become an advocate for peaceable debates?
In a world of turmoil,
choose to be an instrument of peace; we cannot change what has happened in the
past but we can campaign for a better future. If
we can work together rather than argue, we can benefit our community, nation and
"Let there be peace on
earth and let it begin with me. " ~Vince Gill.
Brenda S. Brown