Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Be quiet, Joel Osteen

I just saw this on the facebook this morning:

I’ve hidden people from my timeline for continuously posting Joel Osteen quotes. There are tons of them out there, and they are annoying at best. 

If you don’t know who Joel Osteen is, he’s a TV/mega-church preacher. 


Thats him. He’s almost always got that crazy-weird smile. It’s slightly off. And sometimes it morphs into a grimace, which is much more telling.


That quote above is not only annoying, it’s kind of harmful. It’s basically a version of “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”


That idea, especially when coming from some sort of “authority figure”. Because what it is saying to the general public, like a mom telling her kid, everything is nice, everything is pretty and sweet and fine, don’t stir up trouble by pointing out the flaws in this or any situation. Stick to the status quo. Well, the status quo is pretty fucked up, and sometimes, maybe a lot of times, we need to say something not nice. 

Perhaps this “if you can’t say something nice” mindset is connected to something I’ve often complained about. That is the fear or unwillingness of people to say no. Instead of saying, “No, I’m not interested or comfortable in doing this thing you’re asking of me,” people will just lie to you. They’ll make up some excuse why they can’t. Some people are quite good at coming up with excuses that sound completely plausible. And sometimes people will even say “I’d love to, but...” or “That sounds great, but...” or “I can’t right now, but maybe...” 

I find this problematic, because I tend to tell the truth, and I tend to (or want to) assume that other people are being honest with me. I want to believe people. So when I finally figure out that someone has been lying, and I call that person on it (which I sometimes have done) the typical response is that he or she didn’t want to hurt my feelings. But the problem is that now the person HAS hurt my feelings AND damaged our relationship. This person don’t respect me enough (or have the strength of character) to be honest, and now I cannot trust him or her. I realize most people don’t think of this as lying, but it clearly is lying, regardless of the motivation. Ultimately, that is a greater harm than possibly hurting my feelings a little bit by being honest. 

I never made this connection before this morning. The connection between “if you can’t say something nice...” and making up some pleasant lie to spare my feelings. But now it seems pretty obvious. 

I prefer this quote: