I perceive that a defining characteristic of modern life in the United States is the loss of control over our tongues and our words posted on social media. Our words have become toxic. There is no filter on what people are saying. Our words are leading to cutting people down rather than building them up. Our words are leading to darkness and death rather than to light and life!
Negative rhetoric seems to have become an acceptable way of life. It’s rampant! All political parties are guilty and seem to be leading the charge. It appears that each political party is trying to outdo the others in ugliness and superior ignorance. That trickles down to the state and local levels. It’s now happening in churches, sports, business, and in social life, etc. It is an epidemic.
What is the result of this? I believe it has helped create a culture that is producing mass shootings, road rage, domestic violence, uncontrolled anger, fear, racism, distrust—you finish the list. It started as a small spark. People fanned the flame. It intensified until it is now like a wildfire blazing out of control. James warns, “The tongue is set on fire by hell itself, and can turn our whole lives into a blazing flame of destruction and disaster.” (James 3:6 Living Bible)
How can we put out this fire? “Speak truth, each one of you.” (Ephesians 4:25) Henry David Thoreau said, “The truth hurts, but then heals, while falsehood soothes, but then destroys.” We must practice and demand that we all speak and hear truth. The devil gets a foothold when truth is twisted or compromised.
Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” (John 14:6) He is the truth! All truth is found in Him. When we speak truth, we speak who Jesus is! It seems that society is trying to slowly take Jesus out of the mainstream of everyday life. We’ve minimized the importance of His teachings. We give lip service but not life service to His teachings. Despite intentional efforts to remove Him from the public arena, He is still the way, the truth, and the life!
Someone asked me recently how much further down the road can we go in this country with this kind of culture. I thought about that. Unless people are willing to stand up and do a U-turn to change the culture, we will continue down that road. We may be nearing a dead end, or drop off! It’s time to stop and turn around!
I challenge you to carry a mental tape recorder with you for one week. Record mentally and reflect on the words you say and listen to. Be an influence for change. Your sphere of influence is extremely important!
Every year, the Oxford Dictionary selects a word that describes the year. In 1917 the word was “Post-truth.” In 2017 the word was “Complicit.” In 2018 the word was “Toxic.” Notice a pattern? “Post-truth” statements lead to a “complicit” attitude, which leads to “toxic” behavior.
What if the word chosen for 2019 is “Truth?” What if you and I did everything possible to make that happen? We could become world changers!
What’s your word for 2019?