generally speaking.

[i’ve been posting like mad with a little extra time spent editing the ideas waiting in the blog queue, plus my normal postings. this is one of the last i’ve had waiting. it’s been a fun writing exercise, so thanks for reading all my flim-flam.]

“you always…”
“everybody says…”
“they definitely will/didn’t/can’t…”
“they surely did/won’t/couldn’t…”
“things never…”
an awful habit of mine is ‘speaking in definites,’ as i call it. or in generalities about things that could be specific. it comes with being dramatic in the moment. how i structure my thoughts into sentences says a lot about who i am, and it got me thinking about the effects of words:

word is bond. every utterance could be considered as a promise, a seed planted, a seed killed. so, why are words so easy to throw around? especially negative words. they do so much damage. words have so much power to create and destroy. it’s only when it’s personal that we start to realize their gravity.

do you make general assumptions sometimes? have you ever made a comment about a person or situation when you weren’t completely confident in it’s truth?
those moments are easily forgettable until a word-weapon is unloaded against you. sometimes you never even hear what was said, but you see the effects of what was said in how others treat you after they heard it.

it’s so easy to think badly of people, and therefore speak badly of them too. then it becomes habitual to generalize the worst about that person and maybe even an entire group of people. but what has been accomplished through this? sure, the negative talker perceives that he’s better than everyone else, and therefore he feels exclusive. but really, he’s alienating himself mentally and socially, i.e. he’s alone: unhappy and hard-hearted in some derealized state of accomplishment.

my friend’s long-time buddies are quite the negative talkers. they don’t say too many memorable kind words, sometimes stir up dissension for people around them, and seem like fans of gossiping & truth-stretching. i have participated in sarcastic banter with that guy over a long span of time, thinking it might impress my friend by being so witty around his friends. i even got a nickname for my efforts. over a short period of time, it got easier to say mean stuff about almost everything. in searching out ways to ‘hate’ on the world around me for humor’s sake, i inadvertently started viewing the world through a cynical lens rather often. it’s funny what cynicism does when it fills the mind. getting so busy judging others develops paranoia that the people around are hating on me

ha! what an idea. and the truth is, the majority of people likely do hate on those who are hateful toward them. it’s a hurtful cycle (that i realize i’m slightly perpetuating through this example thus far, but hold tight). in fact, my friend confirmed that the people who i enjoyed hating with also enjoyed hating on me. they made fun of me and apologized later with a pseudo-insult supporting the idea behind the mean joke. that was tough to swallow.

once words are loosed from the mouth–good or bad, they can’t be eaten. that’s the ugly of rotten words. one negative word can nullify many nice ones. that’s what makes the mean words hard to forget, even after they’ve been forgiven. the previous example hurt in my spirit. underneath my dissing, i’d been praying for those guys often since i met them. because they were important to my friend, they became important to me. the second thing that hurt my spirit is my self. i said my friend’s buddies were important to me, but they were obviously not important enough to let go of my image and take a stand for What is Right.

i presented a contradictory display of values that might have deserved a little hating on. i resolved to show kindness around these guys after my hate-gone-wrong display. i even tried to apologize, but it didn’t really go over right. maybe it was too late, but it didn’t change anything besides me seeming a bit more awkward and a lot less funny and cool. however, i’m not discouraged. i can’t change much of anything on my own, but i have seen some of my prayers answered over time for those friends i’ve discussed. (and this is a statement i can make with 100% definition: those the Lord has placed in my life and on my heart, i will pray with diligence until they’re answered. when i say i’ll pray for you, i am truly praying.) whether i’m around to see it or not, i have faith that the Lord will resolve things that i believe He has shown me. time will tell.

jokes are funny. i’m not condeming sarcasm, and i don’t plan on giving up my sense of humor. making light of the murk in this world is my favorite way to deal with it. however, be careful that meaningless negative words aren’t turning to meaningful negative thoughts. those creepy things take root and hold hard to an innocent mind before you realize. take heart in the reversal of all that’s been said: the beauty of a kind word. one sincerely kind word spoken at the proper time can break the hold of many negative ones.
a forgiveness. a compliment. a prayer. a greeting. an encouragement.
even a joke.

“A word out of your mouth may seem of no account, but it can accomplish nearly anything—or destroy it! It only takes a spark, remember, to set off a forest fire. A careless or wrongly placed word out of your mouth can do that. By our speech we can ruin the world, turn harmony to chaos, throw mud on a reputation, send the whole world up in smoke and go up in smoke with it, smoke right from the pit of hell. (James 3:4-6, MSG)

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