It seems pretty easy to put down affluent college students who protest “microaggressions” and want “trigger warnings” so they don’t have to so much as hear words that bother them.
The Church of England is gobsmacked (learned that word from a Brit, I did) because theaters in the UK are refusing to run a church ad in which the Lord’s Prayer is heard – because the theater owners think it might offend some people. Seems pretty easy to put down the theater owners (or the potentially offended patrons) for their putting down of the ad.
Some are pushing back against the cult of sensitivity with put downs like this meme:
OK, that’s funny.
But words are powerful and they can build up or tear down. Or so the Apostles of Jesus taught in the first churches:
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. (Ephesians 4:29 NIV)
Some survivors of abuse report that while physical injuries heal, the sustained verbal lashings leave lasting marks. The Bible recognizes this reality as well:
As with a deadly wound in my bones,
my adversaries taunt me… (Psalm 42:10 ESV)
It shatters my bones, when my adversaries reproach me… (42:11 NAB)
We need to put verses like that down on paper and memorize them as warnings to keep abusive words from our lips.
We need to put down our egos so we can build up our neighbors.
This is not to exalt a wimpy lifestyle. As I’ve pointed out before, powerful figures like Elijah and Jesus could handle the hostile words thrown their way. Yet even they suffered times of fatigue and temptation to despair as their enemies hounded them, an experience given voice through the Psalm Jesus began to quote as he was crucified,
Everyone who sees me mocks me.
They sneer and shake their heads, saying,
“Is this the one who relies on the Lord?
Then let the Lord save him!
If the Lord loves him so much,
let the Lord rescue him!” (Psalm 22:8 NLT)
Verbal abuse is profoundly evil, because it insults the image of God in which we are made. Abuse is one more symptom of a world that’s fallen away from God.
Because when the universe is in order, it pours forth praise to its Creator. This is called “doxology,” from Graeco-Roman roots meaning “good word.” We are meant for “good words.”
Put that down in your notes. Even better, put it into practice in what you say of others and in what you’ll accept in what’s said of you.