“It’s easy for someone to joke about scars if they’ve never been cut.” – William Shakespeare
We, as the human race, need one another. There is no denying that. In fact, we were made to be in community and to be known. Being loved, being valued, and being known are some of the most beautiful parts of the human experience. We were created for relationship with God and with one another.
I often find more casualties of the human spirit as results of destructive relationships than any other origin. There’s something about the darkness within the fallen human soul that has a power to destroy with words and with actions – even apathy. We’re the silent killers. Consider our victims the walking dead, staggering to find a balance in a cruel world where they feel unloved and undesirable. We destroy one another so easily, yet we often think nothing of it. This is a self-condemning proclamation that holds me accountable for all the stupid and careless things I’ve said and done in my life.
“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.” – Proverbs 18:21 ESV
Death and life, not “mere words”.
Beyond just our words, we often destroy one another in our apathy, completely ignorant of the pain and need surrounding us in a hurting world. It’s incredible how we remember the moments where people are gentle, kind, and gracious, even when there is nothing in it for them (other than receiving joy). I have a strange theory: what if we remember those moments because they are so rare, not because they were that earth shattering?
I’ll never forget a time 8 years ago when my anxiety disorder hit me incredibly hard when I was at a Borders Books & Music in Charlotte. I’ll spare you the details, but let’s say that most people around me thought I was weird and ignored me. Yet, there was this one guy who happened to work at Borders who took time to ask me if I was alright, to talk with me, and to be gracious with a listening ear. I’ll never forget such a small, yet powerful act of kindness. What’s disappointing in that situation is how many people were apathetic towards my circumstances…I’d be lying if I said that I haven’t done that to others, as well.
“It’s amazing how much noise people ignoring each other can make.” – Eoin Colfer
If we count the ways we kill one another, there are more ways than we would care to admit. Our words, our actions, our indifference, and our betrayal can destroy another human being, even when their physical frame is still functioning. We all have been destroyed at one time or another. We know the pain and we’d be lying if we didn’t admit that it left us scarred.
What to do in such a mad world?
What if we started speaking words of affirmation, rather than destruction?
If we started listening more than we talk, how might that affect the other person in the conversation?
How often have we taken time to stop, notice someone else, and let them know that they are loved?
We live in a world that is broken, fallen, and wicked. Yet, thanks to the grace of Jesus Christ, we are called back to life! Through the life of Christ, we are made instruments and voices of hope, grace, love, and kindness. We were created for such expressions of relationship. We were created to be known, to love, and to build one another up.
It’s time that we started counting the way we love one another, casting aside our methods of destruction and death.