There is an amazing power in words. I knew this from a very long time ago. But not until just recently has it been literally thrown back into my face. I think there might be an art to finding the right words to say at the right time. Making sure the words you choose fit the situation that you are in. But that doesn’t always guarantee that those words will be taken in the right connotation or right context. That part is up the the reader, right?
What if the person reading doesn’t take what is said in the context in which it was written? Does that automatically make the writer the person in the wrong? That the writer is out of balance in the way that he/she is writing? Or does it have more to say about the person who is reading? What is their perception and is that right or wrong? Is the reader doing the offending by assuming that that was written was written in some sort of malice or discontent? What if it is none of this? What if the writer is just writing from their heart? It was their soul intent to just write what was on their heart. Then what? Is that wrong? and if it is, who makes that decision on whether it is right or wrong?
Oh the questions that swirl in my mind tonight. Not so much a matter of what is right and wrong. But of what is taken out of context of what it was originally meant to be. I write for myself. To express what is inside me to get it out on paper or blog or where ever it happens to land. And then to those who take interest in reading what I wrote. Does that give them the right to criticize or tear apart what I have written?
1 John 4:19-21 19 We love because he loved us first.20 Anyone who says he loves God but in fact hates his brother or sister is a liar. He doesn’t love his brother or sister, whom he has seen. So he can’t love God, whom he has not seen.
21 Here is the command God has given us. Anyone who loves God must also love his brothers and sisters.
My first encounter this week was with a picture that I posted on my facebook page. Basically I posted it because it said something to the effect of we just need to love one another. Doesn’t matter what color, religion, etc people come from, we just need to love them. (That is what I took from it). That is what I wanted others to take away from it too. I want to love like Jesus loved. He loved the sinners and the tax collectors. I know people have taken it as loving folks from different religions, folks that are homosexual, folks who don’t believe in the same God as me….etc etc. But that was NOT my intent on posting that. I wanted people to know that I love them for who they are, no matter what path they are on right now. Being a Christian, yeah, I want them to come to know Jesus the way I do, but for now….I just want to love like Jesus loves. I don’t want to argue who’s right and who’s wrong. I don’t want to argue homosexuality or not right now. That is not my intent and I just don’t have the energy to go there.
The next one that happened was another little thing I posted on fb. A little ditty thing about having a sense of humor. The sign said “Warning: my sense of humor may hurt your feelings. I suggest you get over it”. I didn’t mean any harm by it. My sense of humor is warped. Very warped. Ask anyone who knows me or has known me for quite some time. But my intent on posting this wasn’t to hurt feelings or anything of the sort. It was one of those things that just kinda was a non-obvious grow up and deal with it kinda things. If that makes sense. Life goes on. It was taken as that I was avoiding my responsibility for my own word choices. So, hmmmmm, what do I do with that?
For the longest time, I have remained relatively quiet in my expression. I rarely gave my opinion or stood up for myself and what I believed in. Then I heard this sermon on being bold. Asking boldly in prayer for the things that I needed. I started to become bolder. I stopped apologizing for how I felt all the time (though in the past 2 days, it seems like all I have been doing is apologizing for myself). I have become bold in saying what I mean and meaning what I say. I stand up to people who have in the past put me down or thought less of me because I wasn’t good enough. I will maintain that I will not apologize for how I feel anymore. My feelings are my feelings. They are not facts….they just are. Not good or bad. They just exist. And I will continue to tell people how I feel and what my thoughts are. There is another person in my life though that thinks I need to censor the things I say and to whom I say it to. It’s not that I don’t know that I need tact and timing when talking to people. I do know there are right times to say things and times when not to say things. I am not that old school that I don’t understand that.
Someone told me that I have to watch how I say things. But wait, my intent on everything I say is to not harm, belittle or hurt anyone, then why would I have to be so intent on watching what I say? Because of the other person’s reaction? I am in no way, shape, or form responsible for their reaction. I don’t not have that kind of control. People will respond how they will respond. I don’t set out to intentionally hurt anyone. If someone is hurt by what I said, that is their reaction to it. The sender of the message (me) sent it out with no intentions of harm or humiliation. I believe that is how I present most of what I do these days. (I will also say, that there are a few chosen people who get the wrath of me (ie my sister and some other family members) where the intent is not so pure.) I am not perfect nor do I intend on becoming perfect any time soon.
I have reached a part of my life where I am tired of conceding to everyone’s whim of who and what I should be. I am figuring out who I am and what I want to be. I don’t want to be cowering in some corner afraid of hurting feelings of others all the time. I want to be bold in my words and actions. I want to be like Jesus and love without boundaries. This is who I am. This is who I am meant to be.
I know words hurt. I grew up with that knowledge. I chose my words wisely. I will not intentionally put you or anyone else down. I have been there. I will not apologize for being who I am or who I am becoming. This is me. I am broken, not perfect. Love me as I am or walk away. That is all there is to it.