Words

Submitted by Jim Perdue

Words can be powerful. They can inspire us, motivate us. They can also incite us, remind us of the things that cause us anger. The most powerful words result in action, for good or bad. We have a choice to act on the feelings that words conjure up. Most of us are familiar with the phrase, actions speak louder than words. Words can be meaningful and lead to action, or they can be shallow, empty. Words we hear without listening.

Words aren’t going to bring a life back, but they might help those who are grieving. Words aren’t going to change laws, make life fairer, bring justice to those things that are unjust, but they can inspire people to bring those changes to life, to make things happen. Words do matter, but without action, how much do they matter, or how powerful are they?

Words aren’t going to end racism. Laws aren’t going to end racism. How can a law change a man’s heart? Words probably have a better chance. So does experience. My experience has shown me by working with people who are different than me, their skin color, their ethnicity, their customs and traditions. Over time I learned that they are not much different than me, they want the same things; to be free to provide for their family, enjoy family and friends, do more than just survive. Deep down inside we are not much different.

I don’t have the words that will remove the pain and anger many people are feeling. I’m not sure those words even exist. Maybe the only thing that will remove that pain and anger is change.

Racism didn’t start in America. The Jewish people were enslaved in Egypt for 400 years. Slavery was common in Roman times. When one group of people look down on another, the door to racism is thrown open. Only when we see each other as equal, equally worthy of benefiting from being a citizen in this country, will that door close.

This country was founded on Christian principles, that we are all created equal, with certain unalienable rights, natural rights of all men. Our constitution was influenced by these principles. As a country we have not obtained perfection, we are a work in progress, as a country and as individuals. Perfection may never be realized, but if we don’t strive toward that goal we will go nowhere, we won’t even come close.

Martin Luther King’s words have inspired many people, and they still do. He was a Christian minister and I can’t help believing that he was inspired by Jesus. What is the greatest gift we have before us? Grace and forgiveness. Whether you believe in God or not, grace and forgiveness may be the most powerful of all things. There is healing power. Power to bridge gaps. Beliefs and thoughts lead to words, and sometimes words lead to action, and sometimes action leads to positive change.

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