January 6, 2009

Monday Morning Message - The Words Matter

Wanted: Man to take care of cow that does not smoke or drink.

A pretty remarkable bovine, wouldn't you say? There are other examples of words gone awry like this one...

For sale: an antique desk suitable for lady with thick legs and large drawers.

It doesn't take a doctorate in English grammar to understand the importance of the words we use. Words are powerful tools and should be handled with corresponding care.

Our founding fathers were wise to the power of words and guaranteed the freedom of speech in the Bill of Rights. But even this protected speech comes with some limitations. You may be free to say something about a bomb while walking through airport security but you will quickly find your other freedoms severely restricted for a while! Why is this? Simply because words are powerful.

As much as it matters what we say, it matters, in equal measure, how we say it. If you put the emPHASis on the wrong sylLAble the MESsage gets distorTED! (Say that last bit out loud to get its full impact!).

A personal example of this comes from my marriage to My Beloved. I really thought she was mad at me for the first two years of our marriage. You see, I came from a home where voices were rarely raised and when they were raised it was due to anger. My Beloved, on the other hand, came from a family of loud talkers and in order to be heard one had to raise their voice. Thus my difficulty. When My Beloved was speaking to me about ordinary, run of the mill, kinds of things it sounded to my little ears like she was mad at me. My moment of clarity came one Thanksgiving when I observed a kitchen conversation which included most of the members of her family and it dawned on me that no one in the conversation was mad at any of the others. They were simply being loud. Imagine my relief at discovering that I was not living with an angry woman!

Words matter. Psalm 19:14 offers this prayerful request, "Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my strength and my redeemer."

The simple question is this; are your words acceptable in the sight of God?

Why not make this your prayerful pursuit for the new year? I assure you it is a worthy pursuit as James 3:2 states, "If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man." Your spouse, the children in your life, your neighbors, your co-workers, and even the strangers you meet will be blessed by your pursuit of words that are acceptable to God.

"Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my strength and my redeemer." Ps. 19:14

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