How often this past week have you used the word “hate” when discussing a controversial or contentious issue? I’ve noted in my own comments of late that I’ve used the hate word a whole lot more often than I should. Now granted I really don’t hate the other side but use the word to describe the degree of dislike I have for them and/or their issues. For example, I’m an American so I hate the Russians; I’m a Cardinal fan so I hate the Cubs; I’m a conservative so I hate the liberals. I don’t really hate any of these groups of people but I’ve gotten so undisciplined with my speech that I carelessly throw the “H” word around far more than is appropriate and definitely far more than I should.
Lest we forget, words are powerful. God “spoke” the world into existence and we are made in his image and while we humans’ words aren’t anywhere near that powerful, our words still have the power to heal or to divide; bring people together or drive them apart; express love or express hatred; bring peace or bring tension. Perhaps we all need to stop using the “H” word when talking about the other side in any discussion.
I have to wonder how much the hate filled rhetoric that’s so prevalent in our everyday conversations and on the airwaves and social media and used by politicians, talking heads, reporters, celebrities, sports figures and every day Americans had to do with encouraging the crackpot that tried to kill a number of Republicans at the baseball diamond in Alexandria, Virginia this past week? Words do have consequences and hate words do cause hatred and this week it almost caused the death of 5 people simply trying to practice for a baseball game.
Perhaps it’s time for all of us to stop, think, and speak carefully.