Thursday, February 12, 2015

With Kindness, Love, and Listening

Photo found online
It was a simpler time. A time when bare feet pounded the grass at high speed. The sun shone down on our sunscreen-free skin. Climbing the roof of the house and chicken coop, hanging upside-down from the clothesline post, and climbing trees to read a book were considered normal childhood. Playing in the woods with neighbors. Adventure was out there for us to find.

School-age became a more complicated time. Along with the fun classes like recess and lunch, a young child learned more than the mandatory subject lessons taught. The perfect world seemed to grow dim and cold between everyone's competitive spirit of gossip and one-upping. Whispers behind others backs were taught on their own. Judgement over clothing started way too early. Name-calling was at an all time high. Insecurity rang out like the lunch bell. Bullying ran rampant without a name. Not to mention the long bus ride.

Now enter the age of technology where one can sit behind a computer, hit send and the whole world can see ones thoughts. Instead of meanness showing up on the playground, it shows up in comments where one can be anonymous or just a name.

Words do hurt contrary to the nursery lie rhyme. It's so easy to read a tweet, text, status or the millions of other ways social media pops up and misread the person's intentions. For some reason, just because we can type characters to form words, it gives us a "right" to tell everyone what we think. Sometimes in the most harsh words.

Take the hot topic of immunizations, for example. What ever happened to talking to a person who decided against immunizations and find out his/her reasoning? But, we feel as though we have the 'right' to spout off about how irresponsible it is among a whole host of other negative, judging words. What ever happened to two sides of the story? What ever happened to communication and active listening?

The problem with emails, texts and all social forms is the unknown "tone" of the words. Tone of voice can be heard with phone calls and eye-to-eye conversations. Typed or written words...not so much.

Do Christians need to speak up on certain topics when the only form of communication seems to be through social media or blogs? You bet. But, do it with kindness, love and in the 'tone' of wanting to hear that person's view so we can all understand where we are all coming from.

Am I opinionated? Ummmm....yes. If someone asks me my opinion, I don't usually hold back. Is that a problem? It can be. I try to say things in love and understanding but I have a long way to go. Sometimes I find myself writing a comment only to erase it and move on. Sometimes I have to delete an email so I don't respond. It's a battle against the 'mean-girl'.

Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.                                          Proverbs 16:24

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