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Stop hating and try to fix problems

Too often people speak their mind just because they can, even when it's hurtful.

Strange words coming from a columnist, perhaps, when that is the definition of what I do. But speaking your mind carries with it a responsibility to consider your intentions in advance.

In my younger years  just like many, many people I know and have known I spoke the truth just for the sake of speaking the truth, not being mindful of the purpose that it served or the people that it might hurt. I flattered myself by thinking that people needed to hear the truth, no matter what. I still wrestle with that demon.

Not long ago I listened to a preacher whose sermon was on Christian maturity. According to him, one of the definitions of Christian maturity has to do with speaking the truth, or being truthful. The preacher said something that made an impression on me, and I'll try to convey here it as well as I can.

He said that while it is important to speak the truth, the truth must be spoken out of love. If truth is not spoken out of love, then it is spoken out of bitterness and serves no purpose.

For me, that broke it down in a very simple way that was easy for me to understand. How much better off would we all be if we stopped a moment before speaking to ask ourselves what emotion is driving what we are about to say?

My mind fast-forwarded to social media, that platform that makes it so quick and easy to spout our thoughts. The self-serving people who proudly proclaim that they're going to speak their mind "no matter what," the parents who berate their children publicly, the adults who so carelessly put down other children in the name of building up their own ... the list goes on and on.

It's just wrong.

There are Facebook pages, websites, groups, clubs and organizations that solely base their existence on their hatred for other people or entities. Some of these are humorous at times, but it's like your mama used to say: It's all fun and games till someone gets hurt ... and someone always does.

This town that we live in is in most ways like any other town. There is good and bad. If we really want to do something, maybe we should take the energy that we spend being haters and pick a cause to work on to improve the quality of life here. Whether it's the crime rate, or the underlying problem of the deterioration of the family unit, beautification, homelessness or stray cats, we all have our purpose, and it's not to hurt others, it's to do good work.

To quote Correta Scott King, "Hate is too great a burden to bear. It injures the hater more than it injures the hated." It is a negative emotion that has no place in a productive society.

So let's stop hating on the life around us and focus on a loving way to fix the problems that are bringing us down.

The Lawton Constitution

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