Monday, March 21, 2016

Words, Words... and more W.O.R.D.S!

an agency by which something is accomplished, conveyed, or transferred

Communication can happen in many, many different ways.

That statement is absolutely true.

However, probably the most common "medium" by which information, feelings and ideas are communicated is, whether written or spoken, the medium of words.

A followers of the God of the Bible, we know words are significant to God, because while He often chooses to reveal His glory, power and majesty through His creation, He also has also placed an inestimable significance on the revelation of His love, grace, mercy, justice and salvation through this medium of words:

His Word as in the written Word, the Bible

The Word, as in the living Word, His Son, Jesus Christ

Praying, usually using words, we communicate our hearts to God; words allow us to commune with Him

I don't, therefore, believe it to be a stretch to say that God cares about the words we use and how we use them as we communicate with anyone and everyone around us, be it via the written, spoken or broadcast word.

And I can  back that statement up with God's very own words. Consider verses like these:
  • Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear. (Ephesians 4.29 NASB)
  • Words from the mouth of the wise are gracious, but fools are consumed by their own lips. (Ecclesiastes 10.12 NIV) 
  • Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person. (Colossians 4.6 NASB)
  • A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit. (Proverbs 15.4 ESV)
  • Like apples of gold in settings of silver Is a word spoken in right circumstances. (Proverbs 15.11 NASB)
  • For we all stumble in many ways. If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body as well. Now if we put the bits into the horses’ mouths so that they will obey us, we direct their entire body as well. Look at the ships also, though they are so great and are driven by strong winds, are still directed by a very small rudder wherever the inclination of the pilot desires. So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things. See how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell. For every species of beasts and birds, of reptiles and creatures of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by the human race. But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God; from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way. (James 3.2-10 NASB)

Communicating wholesome, edifying and gracious truth is no easy feat, even if we just look at the actual words that we use. Yet it isn't just the words: in many biblical contexts, the word conversation refers not just to the actual words used, but behavior, manner and the intent with which they are communicated.

I know I mess up myriads of times each and every day - in my home with my family, at work where I minister, on line as I respond to people and share things that I deem important.

A few years back, a song hit the Christian radio airwaves and it has become a daily... or more accurately, a several times a day... prayer. These words are on the images in this post, and I usually, intentionally, think through them and pray them before I leave the house, while driving in my car to an English lesson or riding to church when teaching Sunday School, before I sit to write... I should probably pray them before I get out of bed each morning, as well as make a greater effort to do so before I catch up on (and am tempted to react to what I see) on social media. 

Prayer is powerful and I know it changes me...

...however there are also a few additional strategies that I find beneficial, ones I try to remember to use when it comes to communicating through this medium of words:
  1. Respond, don't react. In other words, take my time. Give prayer an opportunity to change my reaction to a response that reflects God's voice.
  2. Remember. Most are familiar with this saying (usually attributed to Epictetus), but it bears repeating - "We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak."
  3. Research my reasons. Am I using words for me? Or because I have another's best at heart?
  4. Respect. Will these words communicate gently, with integrity and be honoring to others, even if they are confrontational in nature?
  5. Reverence. Will these words reflect rightly my holy, gracious God? Are they words I would want to say with Him standing right beside me?

How about you? What strategies do you use to police your own speech as you seek to communicate God's Gospel message at home and in your worlds?


If you aren't familiar with the song and want to watch the video... or if you are and just love it like we do at my house... here you go!

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