There are some words that put my teeth on edge. I guess everyone has words that do that to them. My list is pretty unique, though. I hear these words nearly each day. I’d love to stamp them out.
- Can’t. This is the f-bomb for Matt Cook. I would rather my kids use profanity than hear them say ‘I can’t do this.’ or ‘I can’t be that.’ Can’t is a cage. Can’t is a poison. Can’t is a lie. The dirtiest kind of lie. Can’t is the abuse disablers throw at the people who drop keys for beautiful, rowdy prisoners. Can’t says that the God-spark in us is weak. And that’s blasphemy, as far as I’m concerned.
- Never. This is the slightly more subtle cousin of can’t. He’s a bastard, too. And arrogant. Never is a closed door that claims there is nothing on the other side. Never is the unjust hyperbole a man uses when arguing with his wife. How many conversations have turned toxic when one person says ‘You never help me. You never listen. You never…’ Never is a hammer. It’s useful in precious few situations. In most cases it just hurts people.
- Hate. If never is a hammer, hate is a bomb. When you tell me that you hate olives or cheese or Justin Bieber, you are telling me that everything in your soul is set against that thing. You are telling me that, if you could work your will, you’d destroy that thing. And I would weep if you succeeded at getting rid of the world’s olives, even though I don’t care for them. Because some people do. Because Justin Bieber, despite whatever you think of his music, is a human soul, shining with the light of God. Because there is almost nothing in the world so vile that it is worthy of hate. In fact, one of the only things we have to hate, is hate itself.
- Stupid. When a man refuses to use understanding when dealing with a difficult idea or person, he runs to this word. And he gets used to using it. Suddenly everyone is stupid. Trouble at work? Boss is stupid. Trouble in the government? Politicians are stupid. Trouble in the wide world? All those strange cultures and philosophies and religions are stupid. Suddenly everyone is stupid. Except me, of course. I’m clever as a fox.