Sunday, October 14, 2012

Words That Persuade

This morning while watching CBS Sunday Morning, an image of Hitler was shown for just a few seconds as a part of the current report. The report was about the Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park on Roosevelt Island in New York City. It was such an interesting report regarding the park and the length of time it took to complete it. The son of the architect who designed it actually brought it to reality. But because Franklin D Roosevelt was the President of the United States of America throughout World War II, a photo of Adolph Hilter was included in the report. When that photo flashed on screen, the evil in his eyes gave me a bit of a start - almost overwhelming the story for me. I began to think about how evil he was and how much power he had to do the things he did, but he did not do it alone, he had help. He was able to persuade others, many others, to join his cause. This line of thought started me thinking today about words and their power.

I love to write. I enjoy putting a thought together by writing. I have written in journals my whole life practically, starting at about 14 years old. I have volumes of journals still, even though Hurricane Ivan took quite a few away. I am sure the reasons I write are varied, but one motivation behind this activity of mine is to obtain some clarity regarding how I feel or what I see going on around me. I don't think I necessarily write to have others agree with me, I think it's more of a need to express. Regardless of motive, writing can be very cleansing, for myself.

But there are other human beings that walk this earth with an ability to destroy and create havoc, by their words. Hilter was obviously one of those humans, a person motivated by self-interest and vain power seeking. That really hit home with me today looking at that photo of him. The other day I saw a Haitian Creole proverb that means God and the devil exist together on this earth. For sure that is true with the selfless acts of many during that war but that the awful war had to happen in the first place. I don't even pretend to understand why evil seems to sometimes prevail - although I know there will be a time of accountability for all. What I guess I'm trying to say here is that sticks and stones can break your bones, but so can words also. It made me think about motives to speak and the effort we put into what it is we do say. I hope that I can give some careful thought to my motives before I speak, or write, to persuade anyone. In this election year, and especially because we are so close to the time to vote, I guess I'm thinking about what we say to each other and why we say it more than usual.

Below are a few scripture passages from Proverbs, a great book for getting some wisdom. There are many many verses in Proverbs regarding speech - check it out! I think I need a refresher.

Proverbs 11: 9 - With his mouth the godless destroys his neighbor, but through knowledge the righteous escape.
Proverbs 11: 12 - A man who lacks judgement derides his neighbor, but a man of understanding holds his tongue.

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