It seemed that the good feelings, mirth and joy of the Cubs finally winning the world series would replace the negativity and chippy attitude of our country and make us feel good about things, at least for a few days. For Central Iowa, the good times lasted only a couple of hours as we awoke to the news that two policemen were killed while sitting in their patrol cars.
There is no doubt that the person responsible was crazy, sick, angry or all three, still what strikes me is that this senseless act of violence seems to be an extreme version of the violent words and rhetoric that is common among us today. The words and conversations that we have as we discuss and disagree are too often violent in themselves. The saying “we listen to respond more than we listen to learn” seems to be certainly truer now than before.
The saying “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words may never hurt me” on the surface may be true, but the more we use violent words, the more often we turn to sticks and stones. There is no doubt that during election years conversations are heated and more personal and the language that is used is too often more vindictive and mean spirited. No doubt that there are disagreements and differences of opinion, but how do we disagree? How do we discuss our differences?
People often blame society, culture or “the world these days.” Lets not forget we are part of society, culture and the world today and we are part of the problem or part of the solution. As Christians, it is important to pay attention to the words we use and how we use them in our discussions with one another or about one another. We need to look no further than the way Jesus used his words and the way Christians were described in the early Church, “see how they love one another?”
I think if we are concerned about violence, we need to start with ourselves and focus first on our words and how we use them. Are we part of the problem or part of the solution?
Rev. James Kirby