Friday, May 27, 2011

Not Sticks and Stones

Yikes, there has been a lot of public name-calling lately; NBA sidelines, talk radio, and congested roads near you. We know name-calling in general is easy when you're angry, frustrated, thoughtless, and inarticulate. It's wrong when motivated by hate or power over the weak, when it is a lie or makes something sacred, profane. What we may not know is that well-intentioned efforts to rid our world of name-calling through huge fines on professional athletes and loss of jobs for public speakers, may inadvertently be shutting down important discussions and undermining personal strength.

Christ Himself called out some pharisees:
Knowing their malice, Jesus said, "Why are you testing me, you hypocrites? Matthew 22:18
and he called out Peter:
"Get behind me, Satan. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do." Mark 8:33
We need to be able to discuss that there are hypocrites and evil. We need names that capture a thousand words in one word and to look at each for the truth or falsehood it represents. When Mr. BMW aggressively doesn't merge properly onto the highway, putting me in danger, at that moment he is a selfish fool.

We need to see ourselves as strong and resilient. "Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me" is more truthful and helpful than "Name-calling is crushing under all circumstances." Being thick-skinned is a desirable and practical trait to foster. The stronger we become, the more we are able to defend truth and those who are truly unable to defend themselves.