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Be impeccable with your words

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How much of what we hear is exaggerated, destructive or full of hate? Don Miguel Ruiz, author of “The Four Agreements,” would say many people fail to be impeccable with their words. Impeccable means not capable of sin and free from fault or blame. Think of what it means, then, to be impeccable with your words.

Ruiz tells us, “Through the word you express your creative power. It is through the word that you manifest everything.” Only humans are blessed with the ability to communicate, and yet many pervert this gift by not being impeccable with their words.

After the Kentucky county clerk, Kim Davis, was jailed for failing to issue a marriage license to a gay couple, former governor Mike Huckabee told Fox News, “I think people need to wake up and realize that the people of faith in this country are genuinely under attack.” Senator Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said in the Federalist, “In the past few months, we have witnessed the gravest attacks on life, marriage, and religious liberty that our nation has ever endured.”

Under attack? Characterizing gay marriage as an “attack” perverts the word, which means violence, an onslaught, combat. At worst, gay marriage has been divisive and, yes, an elected official was jailed for giving priority to her religious views over legal mandate, but neither religion nor marriage is under attack.

You can practice your faith however you like in America. You can pray on a bus or in a public square without fear of being arrested, and no one has proposed legislation that would outlaw or in any way diminish marriage between a man and a woman.

If you want to see religion under attack, look to Syria where ISIS has murdered Christians simply because they are Christians. Neither Huckabee nor Cruz has been impeccable with his words.

Ruiz refers to language as “the most powerful tool you have . . . But like a sword with two edges, your word can create the most beautiful dream, or your word can destroy everything around you. One edge is the misuse of the word, which creates a living hell. The other edge is the impeccability of the word, which will only create beauty, love and heaven on earth.”

A National Rifle Association survey asks, “Should you be forced to tell your doctor if you own a firearm, so that he or she may permanently register you as a gun owner under Obamacare’s guidelines?”  What is the NRA talking about?

A Florida law prohibits physicians from asking patients about whether they have guns in the house and has been challenged in court. Pediatricians were asking about guns, just as they ask about chemicals, electrical outlets and other household dangers. I reviewed the court records and saw nothing about physicians asking parents about guns so they could be registered.

As for Obamacare, I haven’t read all 2000 pages in the Affordable Health Care Act to see if it contains a gun registration provision as the NRA suggests, but I know the 1993 Brady Law precluded the establishment of a federal gun registry.

Why does the NRA choose not be impeccable with its words and talk about something—gun registration—that doesn’t exist?  To instill fear?

In an interview last month on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Congressman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said the president has “proven himself to be untrustworthy” on the issue of immigration. How is it that Ryan has the right to publicly pass judgment on anyone, let alone the president? When does anyone have that right?

But it’s not just Ryan’s public judgment that is problematic, it is the lingering impact his words have. By characterizing the president as unworthy—as opposed to focusing on the president’s position—Ryan has created a barrier between himself and the president that will preclude meaningful dialogue. Are Ryan’s words impeccable?

Donald Trump’s campaign is based on statements that have no connection to reality. He has told us that, for the most part, Mexico brings only drugs and rapists to the U.S., and that he witnessed “thousands and thousands” of Muslims in New Jersey celebrating the downing of the twin towers on 9/11.

No one else has witnessed the “thousands and thousands” of Muslims that he claims were celebrating. Rudy Giuliani, who was the mayor of New York on 9/11, told the British Broadcasting Corporation  that Trump has exaggerated what occurred. Giuliani recalls only reports of “pockets of celebration, some in Queens, some in Brooklyn.”

Trump’s departures from reality are only one issue. His words are destructive and generate hate. He is not impeccable with his words.

When we speak, our words carry the power to influence. Too often that power is used for self-aggrandizement or to pander to the raw emotions of others or to promote selfish interests.

Exaggerating and misleading others demonstrates a lack of respect. These are underhanded methods of seducing others and sucking them into a world where objective truths are as malleable as mercury.

“Depending upon how it is used,” Ruiz says, “the word can set you free, or it can enslave you even more than you know. All the magic you possess is based on your word. Your word is pure magic, and misuse of your word is black magic.”

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Jack D’Aurora writes for considerthisbyjd.com

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Discussion

  1. Carl Heltzel  December 3, 2015

    Jack
    You hit the nail on the head.
    Unfortunately you missed the opportunity to make your argument by example impeccable by including the party’s and their causes from the “other side of the aisle”. Or is the omission purposeful, asking your readers to assume the “other side” is impeccable?
    Carl

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    • Chuck Johnson  December 4, 2015

      Proverbs 18:21

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  2. Fil Line  December 4, 2015

    Jack – Well written. Your words are impeccable. Too bad you couldn’t have found an example or two from someone like the notorious Harry Reid (D, NV) or some of his colleagues who use less than impeccable language to disparage their political opposition. Maybe even to the point of lying? Is it only the R’s and their supporters who not impeccable?

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  3. Bruce Lackey  December 4, 2015

    Proverbs 15:1 – A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.

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  4. David Timmons  December 4, 2015

    Jack –

    I may disagree with Ryan’s judgement of the president and agree with your judgement of the NRA and Republican candidates, but I realize that you also risk passing the public judgement you so eloquently decry.

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    • jdaurora@behallaw.com  December 6, 2015

      You make an interesting point. Rather than debate whether what I have written equates to passing public judgment, let’s approach this from a different angle. Did I fail to be impeccable with any of the words I used?

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  5. Kevin Vereide  December 5, 2015

    Jack – thank you for these thoughts. I wonder if what matters is more than what we say, should it also matter how we react to the words of others. Why do people use exaggerated and misleading words? One reason may be that so many people affirm these comments. We like to hear exaggerated and misleading statements when we agree with the statements. Should we also stop and reflect on what words we are affirming?

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  6. Alice Foeller  December 5, 2015

    Yes, our word is everything.
    In fact, when we find ourselves living with things that aren’t working in our lives (health, work, relationships, habits) it can also be viewed as a failure to keep our word to ourselves. To have integrity, what we say must match up with who we are. This holds true even for what we say to ourselves. (“I’m going to exercise every day,” for example.) That is why our word is so powerful and can be a force for “magical” creation and good, but only if we keep our word, and make it true by our actions.

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  7. miriam rafferty  December 6, 2015

    I am familiar with that book and gift it to those graduating from college:) The author points out that the impeccability of one’s word is so powerful that it can destroy the lives of many people. He uses the example of Hitler killing the Jews (and others) during WWII and I would like to add President Calles persecution of Catholics in the Cristero war. No one ever predicted at that time that death would be the result of religious liberty. This is the reason why we should elect people that understand the Judeo-Christian foundation of our country and are willing to stand up for their faith. The PC of this country does not seem to include the opposing arguments of competing world views. Using the words “under attack” I agree is strong language but lately Christianity seems to be walking on a tight rope. A teacher cannot leave a bible on her desk in a public school, UCLA prohibited a graduating student from thanking her Lord Savior Jesus Christ in her graduation speech, and a U.S. military chaplain was removed because he referred to Jesus in his prayers to the troops. Would we have been that concerned about this 30 or 40 years ago?
    I find it interesting that you only noted specific names of Republicans that are not impeccable with their word. It would only be fair to point out that we have witnessed Democrats lying and using harsh words. But, I will refrain from identifying them since I choose to be impeccable with my word.:).

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    • jdaurora@behallaw.com  December 6, 2015

      By not including any Democrats in my post, I did not mean to suggest they are always impeccable with their words. I’m sure Democrats fail just as often. It’s just that Huckabee, Cruz, Trump and Ryan stand out when I wrote this piece.

      As for the three examples you cite of Christians being censored, I’m not surprised at the first two. There is always tension in public schools between religion and the Establishment Clause. Still, I would like to know more about what happened at the two schools, as well as the story of the military chaplain. Can you share the links to these?

      I’m pondering the relevance of Presidente Calles and the religious wars in Mexico evidences.

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  8. Matt Schaeffer  December 8, 2015

    Jack, I completely agree that such language demonstrates a lack of respect of both the person who is being talked to and the one being talked about. I’m sure that you could have found far more inflammatory language from prominent republicans. There is also no shortage of such ridiculous language being used by democrats. For example, some democrats and their political allies would have us believe that my wife is engaged in a “War on Women” by donating to the Sisters of Life (a group of pro-life Catholic nuns who provide assistance to pregnant women and are active in the “respect life” movement.). Mrs. Clinton recently asserted that her political opponent’s position on abortion amounted to the sort of “extreme views about women” that we expect from “terrorist groups.” I assume that that sort of language is poll tested, so it must be an effective way to raise money. Or, maybe Mrs. Clinton actually believes it!

    I think that one of Miriam’s points is that hyperbolic language has been used by despots such as Hitler and Calles to dehumanize and persecute religious and ethnic groups. It is often the language of bigotry, of marginalization, and of lust for power. We ought to call it out for what it is. Thanks for starting the conversation.

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    • jdaurora@behallaw.com  December 8, 2015

      I had forgotten about the “war on women,” another great example of how words are perverted. Same goes for Hillary’s comparison to terrorists groups. If you want to see a war on women, go to parts of Africa where young girls are subjected to genital mutilation. Being thy cynic that I am, I suspect you’re right. Some pollster probably concluded that the phrase “war on women” resonates with voters.

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  9. miriam  December 8, 2015

    Just realized this did not get sent.
    Here are 2 links for each subject you asked about.

    http://www.worthynews.com/5797-us-university-prohibits-thanking-jesus-at-graduation
    http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/ucla_student_protests_ban_on_mentioning_jesus_in_graduation_speech/
    http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2014/10/06/are-public-school-teachers-allowed-to-have-personal-bibles-on-their-desks/
    http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2014/05/05/fl-teacher-bans-bible-he-s-not-permitted-to-read-those-books/
    http://www.wnd.com/2006/09/37913/
    http://www.jewsonfirst.org/05a/sep036.html

    I mentioned the Cristero War and the Mexican president Calles because like Hitler, one man with his powerful words manifested atrocities against catholics and clergy and as a result, 200,000 Mexicans were killed. 25 martyrs have been canonized and 15 beautified by the Catholic Church. Watch “for “Greater Glory” with Andy Garcia in it. Good historical drama flick. I met the fellow who researched the material for the movie.

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