Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Freemason Wisdom: Benjamin Franklin On Civility

"A slip of the foot you may soon recover, but a slip of the tongue you may never get over."

~Benjamin Franklin

Some people in today's world consider civility a sign of weakness.  They say what they are thinking without thinking, and then justify it by trying to stand on the high ground and point out that what they've said is the truth.  We've become a society of shouters--everyone having something to say and nobody listening.  Nobody learning.  Nobody viewing their "truths" through the lens of another's experience.  Instead of finding those ideals we all agree on and working together on solutions, we stand on opposite sides and call each other names.  Both sides portraying itself as the adult in the room while acting like children.  Both sides refusing to budge an inch.

Civility is not a sign of weakness--it is a emblem of respect.  It is treating someone as we'd like to be treated.  Holding our tongue and listening, learning, and trying to understand another viewpoint is not a sign of stupidity--it's a sign of wisdom.  Finding things we agree on and working on compromises that allow us all to live together in peace is not "caving in" it's called leadership.    

I worry about the world today.  We can't seem to agree on anything.  We fight over issues that weren't even issues until we started fighting about it.  And the problem is, we're all so busy yelling and name calling we don't even stop to think about the issue we're fighting over.  We believe in free speech so long as we're the ones speaking, but then want to silence the free speech of those that don't agree with us.  We're so busy yelling in fact, we don't even hear the fact we're not that far apart on a lot of issues.

We need to get back to civility.  We need to get back to showing each other respect even if we don't agree.  We need to get back to understanding that just because somebody doesn't agree with our position on something doesn't make them evil, or the devil, or an idiot, or a Nazi.  We need to exercise less free speech for the purpose of dividing, and start listening to each other for the purpose of uniting.  

We need to show wisdom by being respectful of everyone, and knowing when it is useful to say something, and when it is best to remain silent and listen. And we need to stop shouting.  Like is says in James 1:19 "Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger:"

~Todd E. Creason

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