Someone said “you just can’t pour pretty words all over it and make it better.” Oh, but you can! Words have tremendous power. We ourselves were spoken into existence. Our Lord and Savior is often called The Word. Our words matter a great deal because they shape our perceptions and our attitude.They create something in the world.
In our country, in the media and on social media, there can be so much negativity, so many ugly words poured all over everything. The media makes its living off of dirty laundry, scandal, violence, fear. That’s pretty much their job. Someone once started a “good news network.” It went belly up about a year later. No viewers. That’s a dreadful truth about the nature of people,but we tend to seek out the negativity, the things that are going to get us all riled up.
Someone smart once said “there are lies, damned lies,and statistics.” That is the truth, nothing lies as good as a well placed statistic. Anybody remember the poll numbers before the presidential election? Statistics are not truth, they are an attempt to get a feel for some data.
There are two memes I’ve spent decades trying to slay on the internet because they are actually untrue, but so deeply buried in the human psyche that one is hardly allowed to question them. The first is that “crime is increasing in America.” People will throw anecdotes and statistics all over this one, but if you go crunch the actual numbers, crime has actually been in decline for many decades. That doesn’t mean we don’t have issues or there aren’t any areas that have seen a spike, but overall all across America crime has been on a steady decline. We don’t celebrate that because we’re too busy fear mongering about an increase that isn’t even real.
The second one is the casually tossed out idea that “half of all marriages end in divorce.” This has never been true, it was a statistic based on a projection. If we continue the way we are going someday 50% of all marriages will end in divorce. That day never came. If you have been married four times, 75% of your marriages have ended in divorce. If you are still married to the love of your life, you aren’t even counted in the data because you have no divorces for us to measure. Entire books have been written addressing this meme, taking apart these numbers, but still they persist today and they aren’t even real.
I realize denial is a river in Egypt and all that, but I am not asking people to deny reality, just to pay attenton to our words and what we are speaking over ourselves and others, and the country we are living in. Reality is greatly influenced by the words we are speaking over it. The truth shall set you free. Often what we believe is “real” isn’t real at all, it is simply manufactured outrage over anecdotal information and misappropriated statistics.
So what if we ran around proclaiming, marriage rates have increased dramatically since 1970? In your demographic, your marriage has an 87% chance of succeeding? Crime in the US has now declined 14%. We’re living longer than ever. The leading cause of death is now…. good living? These things are all true!
I’ll never win this battle, but I’ll keep saying it. Pouring pretty words over things, changes them, and often the words of despair and ugliness we do use, aren’t even rooted in reality.