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Respecting opinions : I deal in hope

I deal in hope : Carolyn R Scheidies

Blog Before speaking, remember “soft” words

We used to live in a culture that tolerated, sometimes even encouraged diverse points of view. This respect for one another and for other points of view has eroded into “If you don’t think speak, believe as I do, you are dangerous and must be shut down and stopped.”

This is especially prevalent with those seeking to tear down basic American values and structure. A girl at a family pizza place is asked her opinion and, because it was not a liberal point of view, the word went out and social media blew up in hate that shut down a restaurant run by a family that needed the income to support their family. Thankfully word of the situation got out and decent Americans began going to the restaurant and contributing enough to keep the place in business.

Those who did not like President Trump forced many who worked in his administration to be hounded, hassled, and assaulted in restaurants and other establishments. In many places, police are assaulted and even murdered because hatred has replaced decency, tolerance, and respect. More and more seek violent solutions rather than peaceful ones. Emotion has replaced thought or consideration of consequences.

There are better ways of dealing with disagreements rather than calling cops “pigs” and calling for them to be “fried like bacon.” Hatred leads not to resolution, but to violence and a corresponding response of violence. It is a cycle that grows more violent and evil. There is another way.

Florence Nightingale changed the nursing profession and garnered respect, but not with violence or disrespect. She was sent with nurses into a war Britain was fighting. The doctors wanted nothing to do with them, but Florence and her nurses quietly tended wounded soldiers and made such a difference, they gained first respect then the cooperation of the doctors.

Martin Luther King could easily have advocated for violence. Horrible things were done to his people. They were mistreated in shameful ways. Yet King kept working toward reconciliation, worked toward the rights of all races to be treated fairly and with respect. He made a difference, cooling violence and showing Americans a better way.

The path of peace starts by using every peaceful and lawful way possible. It means changing hearts and minds, often one-on-one, with truth, information, and genuine concern—including changing laws as necessary.

Scripture advocates for personal behavior and responsibility. Romans 12:21, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” You could add hate to this. Yet love and good are ultimately stronger than hate and evil, which does nothing but tear down and destroy. The more hate and evil is catered to, the worse the situation becomes.

Change doesn’t start with someone else. It starts with you and me. It starts with letting go anger, revenge, and hate. It starts as Proverbs 15:1 states, “A soft answer turns away wrath, but grievous words stir up anger.” How does this play out?

We’re furious. We respond and the incident escalates. But what if when we’re furious, we think before we speak or act? If what we say does not accuse or add fuel to the fire, most likely, the situation de-escalates, and we can deal rationally with the situation.

Though we live in a vengeful, payback, culture, we don’t have to feed into that philosophy. It is not God’s way. Want peace? Stand up for truth, yes. But, start by thinking before speaking, writing, texting and speak “soft” words to defuse.

Can you think of a better resolution for the new year than to seek peace and pursue it in our lives, families, and to those around us? May God’s love lead to His peace in our hearts, our behavior, and our world.

© 2022 Carolyn R Scheidies

Kearney Hub column 01/03/2022

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