I have an Honors BA in English Language and Literature, you would think that I would have some mastery of the English language then right? Maybe that’s why they call the next degree your Masters, perhaps then you can finally use language properly.
I am not talking about proper grammar or spelling, dangling participles or imperative verbs, I am talking about the effect that our words have. It amazes me how many times in a day I can say something and completely communicate the wrong thing. Sometimes even the very opposite of what I am trying to say. Somehow as the ideas go from my brain and filter down into my vocal chords and sounds escape my mouth everything has gone wrong.
I suppose that’s the best case scenario because there are definitely other times that I know exactly what effect my words will have and that filter that should be in place between my brain and tongue suddenly ceases to work and I intentionally hurt or annoy or react inappropriately to someone else.
How is it that God allows us free will over such a destructive weapon like our tongues? Forget that little kids’ saying “sticks and stones break my bones but words will never hurt me.” what a joke! Does any one of us believe that? How long did it take us to figure out that was a terrible lie? Probably no later than the age of 5.
Words are perhaps the most powerful thing we have as humans. They can be used to influence the world for good, or destroy it, to build someone up or rip them down, they can tell the truth or hide it. Interesting that God only used words to create the world; that Jesus was called the Word of God. That alone suggests the power in words, and yet for the most part we give such little thought to what we say.
If I truly thought about what I was going to say I would consider the person I am speaking to, I would think about the connotations of the words I choose and I would actually be able to communicate in a way that the other person would hear me correctly. But I don’t, I take for granted that others will understand me, that they can see beyond my words to my thoughts and heart. Sadly, only God can do that.
Ephesians 4:29 tells me to let no words come out of my mouth except that which is helpful in the building up of others. I think I should probably keep my mouth closed more often than not, I just wish that I could know how to use my words like God. But then I remember, I do have the mind of Christ. Imagine if I actually asked the Lord to help me with my words. To ask for wisdom to use my words like He does? A novel idea, even for an English major.