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Someone cuts you off in traffic. Your first response is anger, but then you see that sign: “Student Driver.” Because you recognize the driver’s inexperience and likely trepidation, you shrug and remember some of your first experiences behind the wheel. In a sense, you take a glimpse of the driver’s heart and see this young person in a new light.

Online traffic is another trigger for anger and recrimination. Unbridled accusations, half-truths, and character assassinations create daily casualties of broken hearts and relationships. It’s easy to be incited to rage and judgment and join in the fray, forgetting the worth of every person who shares a post or comment. I admit I have watched in dismay, and often anger, at the antics and posturing of politicians and media in my country. Sometimes I’ve succumbed to making an ill-advised comment, but more often I’ve felt scorn or disbelief for people who share views I can’t abide and others who blindly fall in step with these individuals who generate them.  

I was cut to the heart when I read this insightful comment in a recent news article. It cited Abdu Murray, an author and  director of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries, who stated, “I also think that what is important is that we learn to see the value in another human being. … Not all ideas are equal, but every person who has them is. So while I can challenge an idea, I dare not disrespect a person. If we have that as our main goal, we’ll find ourselves being more careful about our research … and try to be more charitable in our communication.” *

This is at the heart of Big Ocean’s February tenet, “We are each unique and innately worthy of respect.”  As Blanche Moyaert taught us last month, “Just remember that these other people are also God’s children, part of your family.” 

So, what can I do?

  1. Use self-discipline to stop and listen to my heart before rushing to judgment.
  2. Take time to research the truth from reliable sources.
  3. Be deliberate, fair and restrained in my responses.
  4. Regardless of how unlikely or unethical an idea seems that is presented, let me see the value of the person who is sharing it.

Armed with these tools, we can look for any signs, such as the one on that student driver’s car, that will help us see them as a person of worth and value – a person innately worthy of respect. I challenge you to join me in looking at your own heart and trying to see others’ hearts as well.

*Graham, Jennifer, “Will honesty and integrity be on trial in 2019?” Deseret News, National Edition 13 Jan 2019:  A1,10. Print.