Words. Do we ever stop and think of their value? A kind word here, an encouragement or praise there. Or, on the flip side, a harsh word, belittlement or words spoken in anger. What value is there in either?
Proverbs 15:1 says: “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”
Colossians 4:6 “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.”
Hard to remember in the heat of the moment, or hurriedness of conversation. But, when I think on it, our words, my words have power. Power to build others up, or, tear them down. The ultimate example of powerful words is God himself. By his word alone, everything we see, feel, touch and experience was spoken into being- for us and our enjoyment. That is power. That is love.
Is my conversation like that? Seasoned with salt, full of grace, other-centred, gentle… Not always. Certainly not as often as I’d like.
In my group Bible study a few weeks back, I stumbled across a verse that made me sit and listen. As I read words that I’m sure I’ve read many times before I was smote with conviction.
“But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.” Matthew 12:36-37
Ouch. I felt the weight of that responsibility sit on my shoulders. Every careless word spoken. Oh, I’m sure there are many, and that’s just if I count yesterday’s conversations. But greater than those words in conversation are the words that I write. Suddenly, the story I am writing seemed to carry with it a greater responsibility. God will judge me on what I write, as well as what I say out loud. Now, if I am talking to you, than those words hang in the air for a moment and then are gone. Poof! Maybe you will remember them tomorrow, or even pass them onto someone else next week. Probably not, but words in a story, especially a published story, who will they speak to? What message am I giving? Am I building others up? Encouraging them, or imparting God’s grace? Or am I leaving a message that is not so nice?
Now, I fully believe that God can and does forgive me for the many times I mess up. For the many, many times that I wish I had just counted 10 or just thought a moment more before I spoke. My sin was paid for by Jesus. I have been acquitted. BUT, now that I know what God’s opinion is of careless words, I want to try my best to please him. To be his light, and to carry a message of hope, of grace, and of light through words of value in what I say, and in what I write.
What about you? Have you thought about your words, and the impact they have on others? I’d love to hear from you.
All the best as you write for His Glory, Lucy