Words and The Word

Words have stopped me in my tracks recently.

Not specific words. Just the fact that humans use words.

The ability to wrap sounds around thoughts and feelings and then to communicate complex concepts in a way that creates new thoughts and feelings in others is astonishing. There are few ways we more closely resemble the God who used words as His tools for creating the universe.

Jesus, the Word made flesh, used His words to heal, to teach, to uncover truth, to love, to call out evil, to rescue, to comfort…

I’m not sure how it works that Jesus is God’s Word with skin on, but I’m pretty sure it means something that should permanently change the way I see words.

They are sacred.

Which means using them in any way other than what God intended isn’t just unwise. It’s sacrilege.

Yeah… Wow.

I use words all the time. From the minute I’m out of bed (or at least after I’ve had my coffee), through the day and into the night, I’m talking and answering questions and writing and lecturing my kids and texting and emailing.

So. Many. Words.

In the constant flow, it’s easy to cheapen words and forget their power. It’s easy to lose track of what I’ve said and why I said it. It isn’t often that I intentionally use my words to hurt someone, but I can’t count the times I’ve been careless.

And those runaway words can fly like sparks, setting fires and leaving scars I never meant and may never even know about.

That’s the thing about words: they always create. Whether we think about it or not, whether we mean them to or not, words always bring in their wake new layers of thoughts and feelings in ourselves and those around us. There’s never a word that exits our lips or pens or fingertips that doesn’t leave some kind of change where it lands.

Gulp. As my superhero-loving daughter would say, “With great power comes great responsibility.”

People, we have a lot of power. Which means we have a sobering responsibility.

That’s why I think I need to go beyond paying attention to what I say to asking myself what I want to create.

Do I want to let my careless words create confusion, or do I want to offer steadiness and clarity?

Do I want to spark drama and gossip, or do I want to build a place of peaceful harbor?

Do I want to vent opinions in a way that garners attention for myself and lip-service support from people? Or do I want to invite people to explore hard truths, to find a bold hopefulness as their hearts beat in rhythm with the redemptive heart of God?

Do I want to spread fear and negativity or gratitude and freedom?

Do I want to intimidate or welcome?

Push wounded souls into hiding or inspire openness?

Grow bitterness or joy?

So much potential for beauty. So much possible destruction.

The truth is I’m not up to the task. My tongue slips its reins too often. Like every single day… This place, where sacred words meet my own fallenness, this is where I most need His grace. And, oh, how He gives it, His own words pouring forgiveness over wounds we’ve given and received, creating beauty from the ashes we’ve been handed and the ones we’ve caused.

The Word is always creating. And His Creation is always good.

 

“The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is upon me, for the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor.  He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed. He has sent me to tell those who mourn that the time of the LORD’s favor has come, and with it, the day of God’s anger against their enemies. To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair.  In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the LORD has planted for his own glory.” ~Isaiah 61:1-3 (NLT)

“May the words of my mouth
and the meditation of my heart
be pleasing to you,
O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.” ~Psalm 19:14 (NLT)

2 Comments

  1. Lindsay Leiviska
    Jun 11, 2017

    Love this, Beth. Such a beautiful reminder, Sweet Friend.

  2. Tracy Alexander
    Jul 6, 2017

    So true and well put Beth! I love these scriptures too. May we each day seek to encourage others through spoken or written word or choose to stay home and off our electronic devices if not. Thanks for sharing this and your post about how gossip hurts too.

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