By Yay Padua-Olmedo

“Words! Words! Words! I get words all day through; first from him, now from you! Is that all you blighters can do?”

Eliza, the character played by my favorite Hollywood actress, Audrey Hepburn, blurts out this line in the Broadway movie version of the musical “My Fair Lady.”

Don’t you get that same sick-and-tired feeling every time you click on Facebook nowadays? Acrid words inundate you like a tsunami. Your only recourse sometimes is to just delete the barb-wired post so you can still sip your morning coffee in bliss.

But why this Juan versus Juan war of words?  Tons of angry and stinging words have flooded the net that some have decided to totally retire from FB or unfriend their friends.

Why can’t one comment on our country’s state of affairs, or the unacceptable behavior of our public officials, without readers plaguing you with nasty remarks? Why justify a wrong done? Why bash one’s valid remarks?

And why resort to name-calling? Why rant? Yes, both pros and cons have done this!

But what’s so irritating is the prevalence and endless shares of lies, propagated by so-called trolls―those whose calling is to muddle the truth. Their made-up news are oftentimes so poorly crafted, the discerning realizes soon enough they’re just that: lies!

I learned from school that the real essence of democracy is the freedom to speak without fear of reprisals, or people ganging up on you for your dissenting opinions.

Today, we are a country so divided because we’ve taken sides, become hardliners, and thus failed to judge situations and people objectively. I’m not pointing fingers. We’ve all fallen into the rut of being judgmental, narrow-minded and subjective.

How about we judge situations from God’s perspective?

We’re all sinners (Romans 3:23), and can’t, therefore, justify that any one person’s acts are ALL right, or one is beyond reproach, especially when some of his wrong actions are so blatant.

That holds true for our current president. I love his devotion to our country and people and concern for the poor. I admire his passion for ridding the country of lawlessness. But no one―and this applies not only to him but also the police and all who need to impose the rules―can take the law into his own hands!

Justice and due process must prevail, precisely because the innocent must not suffer along with the lawless! Human rights groups have voiced their concerns. But we should care more about what God says!

Words are powerful. God spoke and His creations came into being. That’s why the Bible says that “death and life are in the power of the tongue,” Proverbs 18:21. Words can either build or wreck lives.

And that’s why as a believer, I could not just sit down and approve of my president’s cursing and disrespect for other’s opinions. Audiences are glued on him every time he speaks on primetime TV. Children are listening. The entire world is listening.

I’ve learned too in school that one needs to be respectful to advance in life. As a teacher, I constantly remind my students to show respect, especially when I sense bullying transpiring.

So I expect my own president to be respectful. Our young people must see that in our leaders, otherwise, why teach it? Also, because respect begets respect. What one sows is what he reaps!

We want that same respect accorded not just on the highest official of our land, but on every Filipino, whether he’s in Manila, New York or in Singapore.

We don’t want investors scrambling out of our country. They’re just too jittery when a host country’s leaders pose as a “you and me against the world” champion. We belong to a family of nations, looking out for each other, to a certain extent. There’s a lot to gain by living peacefully with others, don’t you think?

“Whoever restrains his words has knowledge, and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding,” Proverbs 17:27.

Ephesians 4:29, “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”

This teacher prays, not so much for freedom of speech to prosper, but for all Filipinos to not feel threatened when they speak out; more, that we not tolerate what’s evil, and applaud the good.

I am a Filipino and proud to be one. And I will continue to pray for my president and my country.