I accept your apology upfront if you have to ask me to repeat something I just said.
After all, you can’t help it that there is so much shouting going on around us it makes it hard to hear you, let alone what God may be telling us.
You see, we have become a society of shouters and yellers, and it just feeds on itself. We can’t get our ideas and opinions out because someone else is yelling and shouting, so we decide to yell and shout to get heard. We’re just like the class of fourth-graders I had when I substitute taught. Let them start talking at a whisper, and then two people start talking louder, and then another two start talking louder until everyone is yelling and I had to tell them all to be quiet.
Underlying this din of noise is our own inflated opinion that everyone wants to know what we have to think on any subject. So to get heard, we start yelling.
Now let me get this out in the open. We all have opinions and there is nothing wrong with sharing our thoughts and beliefs. It is how we share them that often becomes the hindrance.
We have to look no further than internet news sites that allow comments to be posted after stories. Look at the recent furor after the acquittal of Casey Anthony of the charges she murdered her daughter. I’m not going to debate the outcome of the trial, but the way the jurors have been treated has been outrageous.
These are everyday citizens who were doing their duty required by law and based their decision on the evidence and whether it matched the guidelines to get a conviction based on those charges. Yet because of the society we live in today with instant comments and plenty of platforms to shout our opinions, people took it upon themselves to convict the jurors, sending death threats and using the internet to vilify them.
I’m also reminded of a sermon delivered by our pastor last summer. He said that part of society’s problem is that we have forgotten that we are dealing with human beings. When we are so anxious to get share our opinions and beliefs that we are yelling, shouting and generally putting down and disregarding those that would disagree with us, we no longer treat them as humans but misguided souls that need to be put on the correct path – generally our path.
I wonder sometimes what God thinks of all of our ranting and raving and “I’m right and everybody who disagrees with me is wrong” mentality. Is this the best way to shine God’s love – by yelling and shouting? How would we know how God wants us to share the message of love and forgiveness? We can’t hear a thing!
I’m reminded of Elijah out on the mountain waiting to feel God’s presence. The thunderous earthquake, roaring wind and hot flames were not God’s presence. It was in the gentle whisper that Elijah heard God’s presence.
I wonder how much more civilized our discourse would be if we stopped using thundering oratory and inflammatory speech, and instead used a quieter voice to reach out to others. Perhaps then the world will see God through our actions.
And we could hear each other.
Steve McClain is a professional writer/editor who mostly covered sports for 17 years before getting off the playground and getting a real job with real hours. He lives in Georgetown where is a member of Faith Baptist Church and chair of the Youth Committee.