While I was in the university, students of Mass Communication were usually categorised as “great talkers”, always having an answer to any question; great defenders of a cause. “You really don’t want to get into an argument with them”, you’ll be advised.
I and two friends used to be grouped amongst these people and we were proud about it. We were called savages because when we got into an argument we usually won…by any means possible.
Specifically, amongst other friends and colleagues, we were known to have sharp mouths. “Kai, you’re mean,” we’d hear often from laughing or wincing friends. You never want to be caught in an argument with any one of us. Together, we three were like a bomb.
We were like rabid dogs, sinking our teeth into flesh and not letting go till we had that chunk we wanted, that admission that we were right. We knew how to show people their foolishness with just a word or look.
One day after a retreat, we were having follow up prayers together when God’s word came strongly through one of us. God was clear. He did not mince words- “I do not like savagery.”
HE explained that the world is full of evil, filth, darkness, oppression, broken humans, dead men walking, he did not need us adding to it. HE told us he’s all about simplicity; letting our yes be yes.
We ought to be the salt of the earth, the light-bearers, the ones to show people God’s way of doing things, how could we boldly, unashamedly call ourselves savage?
Oh, how we cried that night and promised to not be savage anymore. That prayer session ended with us passionately decreeing, “We are not savages! We speak God’s words…”
That was the year when Twitter savagery though not new became the in-thing. Being acknowledged as “savage” then was like winning the lottery. Sadly, that bitter culture is yet to expire but digging deeper roots.
Social media has become a place of toxicity where people can freely express their poison and be hailed for it. “Savage honesty”, they say. “The truth hurts anyway”.
They hurt people’s feelings deliberately just to be hailed by others. Even when they understand what’s being said, they intentionally twist people’s comments and questions to make them look silly.
They seat on grammatical and spelling errors until the person’s self-esteem is thrashed. Beyond the virtual world, others hold the same championship but in real-life interactions.
I checked the dictionary for synonyms for the word “savage” and I was surprised to see: wild, uncultivated, barbaric, uncivilized, fierce, ferocious, vicious, merciless, unpleasant, to mention but these.
Physically, savagery does not denote any good thing so why do we still want to be identified with it? If the physical can be this unappealing, imagine what the spiritual name of “savagery” connotes.
Before you term savagery to be mere sarcasm, look at Jesus’ life. He rebuked when he had to, corrected when he had to. Even when his disciples would ask annoyingly silly questions, he did not mock them but was always gentle.
What if your words can be an encouragement to someone instead of the reason for their suicide?
What if your words can be the reason someone wants to find out more about Jesus instead of turning away?
Not being savage does not mean accepting every word spoken, No. Some matters need to be addressed forcefully, like when Jesus faced the Pharisees and said, “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrite!…”
Even then, Jesus was direct with what he wanted to say, his intentions were purely to instruct not to revel in others ignorance or wrongs.
You too can tell yourself what we said years ago: “I’m not savage. I’m salt. I’m a healer. I’m a preserver. My words are God’s words. My words will not kill anyone. My words are light. My words are spirit and life to the world.”
You can add whatever you feel like to that affirmation and I say Amen to each of them.
Learn restraint and let Love lead💓.
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