“Create in me a clean heart, O Lord, and renew a right spirit within me.”
I would like to think that I am the guy who always keeps a cool head, always speaks kindly, always responds in a civil manner. But, I am not. I stammer, spit, and sputter in moments of anger or disgust. In my mind I am able to read to you the riot act when I feel I’ve been maligned. Don’t you know who I am?
In the previous paragraph “I” or a form thereof was used 8 times. That is the problem. “I” sometimes becomes the dominant pronoun used in thought and conversation leading to a severe case of me,me,me which almost always excludes “you”, “they”, and even “we” from any dialog. It becomes a one-sided conversation which clearly clarifies my position, but simultaneously bars you from taking part in the interaction. Great ego stuff for me, not much fun for you.
The world is like that, is it not? Tact, civility, and compromise have all but disappeared. Conversation consists of pointing accusatory fingers, pumping personal ego, and demanding respect where respect is undue. “My way or the highway” has become the norm in political discourse separating your party from my party and forcing one of us to be the boogeyman. In a candidate debate for elected office, the debate often turns into a tit-for-tat assault on personal integrity. Oh, never mind that children in America are starving, that violence is escalating alarmingly, or that we could be nuked tomorrow. You, candidate A, are a scumbag and I, candidate B, will let our constituency know all your lurid details. Really? Do you think the homeless veteran scrounging for a meal in the dumpster really cares what candidate A did?
It seems that we take our cues from celebrities, the rich, and the famous. As they do, we want to do. As they speak, we speak. Twitter and Facebook have made it too simple to assail, insult, assault, libel someone we probably don’t even know without any threat of accountability. No need to fear blackened eyes or missing teeth from a physical one-on-one confrontation.
Personally, as I have confessed, I still go there sometimes. The verbal barrage, the unkind thoughts, and the judgmental attitudes can swoop down on me in a heartbeat. But, when the emotion is spent and the brain is engaged, I find myself saying to a beleaguered me, “Was it good for you? Did that tirade make you feel better about yourself?”