St Francis believed in preaching the Gospel...but it wasn't by using hate filled words filled with threats or snide innuendo. How do you also show your love of God towards another?
Since social media has become the norm, people think they can use it to bully others. Now that it is "election season" in the good ol' USA, I have seen so much virulently hateful posts on Facebook and if anyone dares to take a stand (maybe for common sense) that person gets shot down in many truly sad ways.
In just the last couple of weeks this has been so among my friends and family. And it's not just social media. There are many who feel that they can go through life without a filter on the mouth! Anything they think, many times impulsively, that they have the upper hand of knowledge on a subject, thought or feeling, BAM! out comes some pretty nasty words that about 30 years ago, no one would never have even dreamed of letting loose from their lips let alone from their thoughts!
What is happening to humanity?
Case in point: my husband, a hard working high school custodian, was cleaning classrooms for the summer. This is no easy feat as desks need to be removed, shelves must also be cleared of materials and wiped down, and when the old floor wax has been stripped and reapplied, everything must go back to its place. It's original place...and every classroom may have a slightly different "place" for what was taken out.
Enter a teacher, who returns to her classroom for whatever notion she had, and while she is there, makes a snap comment about how when she returns in August to get ready for classes, she will also bring with her a white glove and that room had "better be spotless!"
Now, I shake my head at that caustic comment. Number one, custodians work hard during the summers as they have a lot more cleaning to do, more so than during the school year. Would it have taken any more time out of not only HER busy day, but his also, for her to make a NICE comment? Think about it: a nice comment...which would have buoyed his spirits and maybe given him a sense of worth. Instead, he carried the effects of her bold, yet caustic comment the rest of his shift. Imagine carrying a sack filled with rocks for the next several hours...snap comments have the same effect. You can jjust feel that weight as it drags your shoulders lower...and lower....
why? Why add that burden on to another human being?
Filters. You know what it is, it is thinking first then speaking, if indeed words are even necessary at that point. Gosh, I keep going back to that line in "Bambi," where Thumper is reminded by his mother that "if you can't say anything nice, then don't say anything at all." I think that the world would have a lot less sorrow if only people could remember that.
What power is it to hurt someone's feelings? How do you feel when you cut someone down to size? Are you even aware that you have just done so? This applies to most anything we see or hear in daily life. If someone made a comment about race, religion, elections/politics, or whatever, it seems there are three more who will be sure that they are not only heard, but also that, even if the facts are wrong, they are right. They will swear up and down that they are right and nothing can sway them from that belief. This religion is better than that! That politician is better than this! That political party is better than any other!
I dare you to stick up for the little guy! I dare you! Will you? If you overheard someone cutting someone else down, what would you do? Do you just wilt like a flower under intense heat or would you stand up and say, "this is just wrong!" and do something to make it right?
I am reminded of St. Francis of Assisi. He admonished his followers to "spread the Gospel. Use words, if necessary." What does that mean to you?
In short, it means that ACTIONS should do our talking for us! People will more readily follow you if you use actions to show your love and concern. You will be the most popular person in your neighborhood if you practice kindness towards all. It doesn't cost you anything and it takes as much time to be mean and nasty as it does to be mellow and loving.
In today's world, with the media blasting at us from all corners, be it a smartphone, an iPad, a computer, the TV or newspaper, everyone it seems has an opinion. Wonderful! But also please use common sense! Ask yourself, "will anyone be hurt be what I have to say?" If so, then maybe practice prudence, just swallow that thought and forget it even blipped into your conscience. Truly...the world is hate-filled enough, how about if you add some sunshine...show some empathy. After all, we all travel the same roads. I don't know about you, but I'd prefer a traveling companion that I can laugh with and share some happy moments.
Are you with me?