Words convey meaning. Words serve the purpose of those who utter them. Words can heal. Words can wound. Words can communicate the holy or the profane, the sacred or the selfish.
Every tradition has sacred ground. Speaking from my tradition, the concept of “sacred” is related to justice and righteousness. God is holy, and God calls all creation to share in that holiness, which is to join in the dance of communion, to look upon the other as part of the sacred dance. God has made us all and called us good. Our unending task is to look, to notice, to find the good in the other that is different and that complements, that supplies what I don’t know or have.
Careless speech is destructive of the sacred. To speak with contempt about any other part of creation is to spit in God’s face and to damage the sacred dance. It is with that in mind that I come to these words.
In the Gospel of Luke we read, “The good person out of the good treasure of the heart produces good, and the evil person out of evil treasure produces evil; for it is out of the abundance of the heart that the mouth speaks.” (chapter 6, verse 45, New Revised Standard)
Be careful, then, how you speak. And even more, be careful of what you put into your heart. What you fill yourself with will show itself in your manner of speech. If you fill your heart with profanity (I’m not talking about words so much as attitudes and intentions) it will show in your speech and deeds.
I have to confess that I am afraid when I listen to our President-Elect. How can a person who speaks with such contempt for broad swaths of the American public fulfill the role of national leader? Any marriage counselor will tell you that contempt will kill a marriage. It will kill the relationship between a public servant and the public. The president has a sacred trust to care for all of the people and to lead by example.
Please, Mr. Trump, don’t poison our national conversation any more with such demeaning words. Weak and vulnerable people need our care, not our mockery. Strangers need our welcome. I expect better of my president. And I hold out hope that we can restore a commitment to respect the sacred in one another.