Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind. Rudyard Kipling
Judge your words before you utter them… The Talmud
The broad masses of a population are more amenable to the appeal of rhetoric than to any other force. Adolf Hitler
Society is increasingly turned off by those who are skillful users and abusers of rhetoric. We listen to so much rhetoric lacking integrity and honesty; we are sick of it. This is true of the spoken word as well as the written word. It has become a huge credibility issue. Who can we trust?
People are really getting disillusioned by politicians as well as the spoken and printed media. Politicians seem to have no bounds in saying what they believe their listeners should hear. Some are willing to say anything, even lie, to further their own cause or to slander their opponents. Much of the media has become untrustworthy and deserves little credibility. Speaking the truth is no longer a primary guiding principle. The use of rhetoric has become so corrupted; we should not believe anything except from the most reliable and safest sources.
Some people believe their cause is so important that lying is justified. They believe “The end justifies the means.” Dishonesty and deceit will never become okay and we should never accept it. We have to hold them and we have to hold ourselves accountable for the words we speak. When dishonest rhetoric is used to express our thoughts and ideas, we cross the line from a sincere desire to honestly state ideas to an intent to mislead, deceive and lie. We must always be guided by honesty. Using untruthful rhetoric is not acceptable. Adolph Hitler was an evil genius who was very skilled at using rhetoric to get people to follow his evil ways. There have been others like him. We need to open our eyes and ears and realize that we are being ‘rhetoricized’ by misguided people.
Most of us still believe it is wrong to lie. Equally, it is wrong to deceive, misinform, slander, use innuendo and any number of things that are less than honest. We are losing our principles and morality when we allow this.
The use of words and how they are spoken is a critical communication skill. It is very desirable to be a skilled and artful communicator. We want to be able to persuade, convince and sell our ideas and beliefs. There are definite boundaries on what we should and should not do. We should be guided by a desire to be honest and have integrity in what we are saying and doing. Maintaining principles is more important than rhetoricizing.
Challenge: Who are some rhetoricizers that come to mind? Be aware of how turned off, betrayed, belittled and violated they make you feel. Chances are you think of yourself an honest person. Do not allow dishonesty to get a hold on you. Back off from using rhetoric and be guided by honesty and integrity. People will respect you. Hold yourself to high standards in all the words you speak. Hold all people accountable for the words they speak.
Wisdom: Words do not express thoughts very well. They always become a little different immediately after they are expressed, a little distorted, a little foolish… Herman Hesse
Do not take advantage of each other, but fear your God…. Leviticus 25:17
But the meek will inherit the land and enjoy great peace. Psalm 37:11
For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and who ever humbles himself will be exalted. Matthew 23:12
In the final analysis, anything that is not done in a spirit of love should be suspect as to what the true motives are. We should use this as a standard to measure ourselves as well as what we hear and see from others. Love should be the filter through which we pass the meaning and intent of what we are saying as well as what others say to us. If love appears to be absent. It should speak or not speak for itself. Always remember love comes from God.
Prayer: Help me be guided to speak the truth, and no to be driven to idolize what I have to say.