A human characteristic is the ability to speak, to converse, to give instruction, to make our opinions known. We talk. We use our tongues–sometimes without thinking, and sometimes very intentionally.
Our speech is directed to another, a listener. The listener may be a child, a friend, a family member, or a stranger in the grocery store. Regardless of who or where, what we say to each other matters. Speech is a gift to be used with care. I would suggest loving care, though I’m often guilty of overlooking that.
Matthew 12:36 says, But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.
Wow! That’s a lot of personal responsibility.
Yet what we say to each other is not always done with words. Often it’s what we DO that speaks loudest. How do our actions speak to our vulnerable children, or the friends and family who learn from us? Are we responsible in our actions as parents and teachers, leaders and co-workers? Do we practice what we preach? Again, many of us often fall far short of that. It’s a good thing we have personal control over what we do, and if needed, the ability to correct ourselves.
There are times though, when we’re not the ‘speakers’ or the ‘doers,’ but the receivers, the targets of speech and action. Over this, we have little control, and no doubt the voices and actions are loud–the media, movies, TV, newspapers, books, and even our own government.
Except each of these segments are made up of individuals like us. Are these individuals any less responsible than us for what is said and done in today’s world? Don’t they, too, have the ability to correct themselves–or have greed and power simply struck them dumb and immobile?
Copyright 2015 Kaye Park Hinckley.
Photo by Jdurham (2009) via Morguefile.com.