Perhaps you haven’t been the victim of “hate speech” or a violent crime, but the news lets us know every day that this societal plague is rampant. In my small town in Indiana, religious buildings have been plastered with hate speech and there’s been at least one physical attack on a member of a minority religion in the past year. What’s the source of words full of anger and disdain or unprovoked violence? My colleague, Hank Teller, writing for the September 1, 2017 edition of The Meridian Star, traces this hateful voice back to its origin in thought and shares some inspiring advice on how to choose between good and evil in our own thinking. Here’s Hank:
“Where is the voice coming from?” is the title of a short story written by famed Mississippi author Eudora Welty on the day civil rights activist Medgar Evers was murdered outside his home in Jackson during the summer of 1963. Welty’s story describes to a tee the racial climate in Mississippi and much of the United States 54 years ago. Unfortunately, that deep-seated but irrational hatred, so powerfully portrayed by Welty, continues to rear its ugly head around the United States and the world.
What is this “voice” that would impel someone to randomly murder persons in a movie theater, to enter a church and shoot nine persons attending Bible study, or to deliberately drive a vehicle into a group of innocent pedestrians? Is there a way we can head off these malicious thoughts or voices and the actions stemming from them? There is. Everyone has the God-given ability to discern what he or she is thinking and reject malevolent thoughts. The psalmist tells us “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts; And see if there be any wicked way in me and lead me in the way everlasting” (139:23, 24).
Even in biblical times people were questioning the source of hateful speech and unprovoked violence….