Daily Bread

Words that Wound

Sun Star Bacolod - - Opinion -

Read: 1 Sa­muel 1:1-8

“Skinny bones, skinny bones,” the boy taunted. “Stick,” an­other chimed. In re­turn, I could have chanted “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” But even as a lit­tle girl, I knew the pop­u­lar rhyme wasn’t true. Un­kind, thought­less words did hurt—some­times badly, leav­ing wounds that went deeper and lasted much longer than a welt from a stone or stick.

Han­nah cer­tainly knew the sting of thought­less words. Her hus­band, Elka­nah, loved her, but she had no chil­dren, while his sec­ond wife, Penin­nah, had many. In a cul­ture where a woman’s worth was of­ten based on hav­ing chil­dren, Penin­nah made Han­nah’s pain worse by con­tin­u­ally “pro­vok­ing her” for be­ing child­less. She kept it up un­til Han­nah wept and couldn’t eat (1 Sa­muel 1:6–7).

And Elka­nah prob­a­bly meant well, but his thought­less re­sponse, “Han­nah, why are you weep­ing? . . . Don’t I mean more to you than ten sons?” (v. 8) was still hurt­ful.

Like Han­nah, many of us have been left reel­ing in the wake of hurt­ful words. And some of us have likely re­acted to our own wounds by lash­ing out and hurt­ing oth­ers with our words. But all of us can run to our lov­ing and com­pas­sion­ate God for strength and heal­ing (Psalm 27:5, 12–14). He lov­ingly re­joices over us—speak­ing words of love and grace.

When have you been hurt by un­kind words? What helped you to heal? Who needs to hear your grace-filled words?

Lov­ing Father, thank You for the heal­ing and hope we find in You! Help us to bring our hurts to You—and al­ways to be mind­ful of the words we say. Give us the wis­dom and pa­tience to think be­fore speak­ing. B

EFORE, there was N-I-M-B-Y, acro­nym for Notin-my-back­yard in the waste man­age­ment jar­gon. It refers to the at­ti­tude of not want­ing to see trash ac­cu­mu­late in the im­me­di­ate sur­round­ings. Bring it some­place else. Out of sight, out of mind.

The NIMBY at­ti­tude is what makes the con­struc­tion of san­i­tary land­fills dif­fi­cult. The tech­ni­cal re­quire­ments for a land­fill site are in it­self chal­leng­ing. Pub­lic op­po­si­tion makes it even more dif­fi­cult. The Eco­log­i­cal Solid Waste Man­age­ment Law spec­i­fies a san­i­tary land­fill as the only ac­cept­able fi­nal dis­posal site.

Now, NIMBY has gone in­ter­na­tional, and we are a victim of it. I call it NIMC, Not-in-my-coun­try. Bring my garbage some­place else. Ship it out. The most pub­li­cized in­ci­dent was the Cana­dian waste fi­asco which took six years to re­solve. The re­main­ing 69 con­tain­ers were fi­nally “re-ex­ported” to Canada last My 31. The Cana­dian gov­ern­ment paid the $1.14-mil­lion ship­ping cost as the com­pany that orig­i­nally shipped it no longer ex­ists.

I read in the news that the Canada-philip­pines waste fi­asco has af­fected the en­vi­ron­men­tal cred­i­bil­ity of Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau. That’s not good be­cause elec­tion is forth­com­ing. To brush up his im­age, he an­nounced that Canada will fol­low in the Euro­pean Union’s foot­steps and ban sin­gle-use plas­tics as early as 2021.

Af­ter the Philip­pines, Malaysia is now also deal­ing with NIMC. It will be ship­ping out 450 met­ric tons of plas­tic trash to its coun­tries of ori­gin. Ac­cord­ing to Malaysian En­vi­ron­ment Min­is­ter Yeo Bee Yin, the waste came from the United King­dom, the United States, Bangladesh, Saudi Ara­bia, Ja­pan, Canada, and China.

The good thing about Malaysia is that they are not putting all the blame on the for­eign na­tions. She is also point­ing her fin­ger at the Malaysian im­porters who brought the garbage in. The Min­is­ter calls them “traitors” to their coun­try’s sus­tain­abil­ity and vowed to bring them to jus­tice. They will also pay for the re­turn of the garbage to their coun­tries of ori­gin. This is some­thing that I did not see in the case of the Cana­dian waste. Most of the blame was placed on Canada.

Malaysia said they will not be a dump­ing ground for de­vel­oped na­tions. It seems that there was re­ally in­tent to send garbage to their coun­try mis­la­belled as re­cy­clables. When the press was in­vited to look in­side the con­tain­ers, a mess of mixed ma­te­ri­als was found, in­clud­ing “clean” re­cy­clables hid­ing dirty, non-re­cy­clable ma­te­ri­als be­hind them.

With the han­dling of the Cana­dian waste, the Philip­pines also sent a strong sig­nal that we don’t want to be a dump­ing ground of other na­tions. The haz­ardous waste from Hong Kong was al­ready shipped out last June 3. We still have the Aus­tralian and South Korean waste to deal with.

And so we say, NIMC. Deal with your own waste.*

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