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  • Writer's pictureH. Rick Goff

Filters


One of the definitions of the word filter is "to censor (oneself), as to avoid causing embarrassment or offense". This definition seems almost moot today because it seems everyone is so busy trying to be heard that they forget to hear. And with social media, little thought is ever given to censoring oneself, it almost gives a license to cause embarrassment and offense! In this age of "keeping it real" and "living my truth", many have disposed of their filters and forgot the reason we have two ears and one mouth i.e. think twice before we say or do something that embarrasses or offends someone (or ourselves) or in short; think twice before we say or do something stupid!!


I know offending someone is very subjective, as some people just have a keen sense of self (thick skin), and don't overreact to perceived or even real slights. But others have known and unknown insecurities or skin as thin as a sheet of paper, and a simple statement can spin them through the roof! I've learned over the years that you don't get to define when you offend or hurt someone by what you say or do, they do! You can ignore it and say they are too sensitive, too insecure, or they took your comments or actions out of context, but that doesn't make it right. If you hurt someone with your words or actions, you are accountable! This is when your innate filters come into play and can help you be more intentional about what you say and how you interact with others. My Pastor likes to say, "I'm only one step away from stupid everyday", and I'm sure he means that his God given innate filters help him avoid saying or doing something that offends or embarrasses someone or more importantly himself!


All this is not to say you don't tell the truth or be frank with people, because there is nothing more important in relationships than truth and honesty. I can personally attest to the pain and loss that is caused by not being truthful and honest with someone you care about. But I'm trying to make the point that we should be more intentional and respectful in how we deal with others. Often, it is not "what" is said but "how" it's said that determines how some verbal communication is perceived. I know I'm stating the obvious, but social media has reduced our reliance on our filters because we don't have to deal with others face to face. It's much easier to intentionally offend someone in a text/chat or email than when you have to look someone in the eye and talk to them!


Some filtering is necessary if we want to navigate the complex world we live in. There is really no excuse for knowingly hurting someone's feelings or being insensitive to their known insecurities. To me, that's just mean spirited and the old saying "what goes around, comes around" comes into play. What you say and what is understood can often be totally different. It takes intentionality to synchronize the two for effective communication. There is no magic formula and it's rather simple--- be kind and respectful in your communication and dealings with others and generally the sentiment will be returned to you. The precept of the "Golden Rule" in Matthew 7:12 says it even more succinctly, "In everything, do unto others what you have them do to you"










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