Last week I wrote about being pulled over for something there is no possible way I did. I was only given a written warning, but it still sort of upset and frustrated me. That frustration was apparently visible in the writing.
It was pointed out to me that if my article was read from a certain point of view, it may have sounded like I felt the officer was rude or unprofessional toward me: in fact one person suggested even reporting the officer to the police department.
Nothing could be further from the truth! The officer was courteous and very professional...he just pulled over the wrong car, but he was convinced it was the right car. He was never anything but respectful and nice throughout the traffic stop.
This does prove a very important point, though. Words (whether they are spoken or written) have meaning and what they mean can have tremendous power.
In James 3, we read about the power of the tongue (words: spoken or written). In verse 6, James tells us, “The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body.” When he gets to verse 8, he writes, “...no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.” James concludes by writing about hypocrisy in using the tongue in verses 9-12.
All of us need to think about the power of the words we speak and, perhaps especially, write (e.g. social media posts). We need to remember that sarcasm (e.g. “I found myself wishing he would give me a ticket, just so I could go to court and prove how wrong he was…and maybe even issue him a citation for harassment of an innocent citizen.”), and other forms of irony, wit, etc. are difficult to express when writing.
The point is this: when choosing your words, choose carefully. The word “harassment” as used above (taken from last week’s article) was not meant to mean he was rude or mean to me, just that he unnecessarily delayed me...but to someone who read the article, they read it as he was less than courteous towards me.
For this I apologize. I have nothing but respect and admiration for all of the men and women of the Siloam Springs Police Department and all others who wear a uniform and do such an important job. May God bless them!