follow me on Twitter

    Thursday, December 11, 2008

    The Eloquence of Words

    I may be a geek, a dork a nerd or what have you but I love words! I love the way words can move you to the core, make you wet yourself with laughter or cry yourself to sleep. The power of words is astounding, horrifying and comforting at the very same moment.

    Words are used to illustrate, captivate and motivate. Words are simply powerful. We can't go a day separate from words, for if you don't speak, read, listen or watch...your very thoughts, or prayers uttered in your mind are words.

    For all the good words have, they also have the potential to harm, hurt, wound, bruise and even kill. The old adage: "sticks and stones may break my bones, but words may never hurt me" is a lie from the pit of hell! Broken bones WILL HEAL, yet wounds done by the harshness of words can last a lifetime or a tabloid, book or magazine can last for eternity.

    I know a girl who was wounded by words. Her world was rocked by words, her heart broken by words and her life altered by words! I know words said to me for good or for ill have stayed with me, shaped me and effected me.

    This is the very reason James writes in his book about the tongue, the designer, and user of words.

    "Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell."
    (James 3:4-6)

    We need to be careful with the eloquence of our words. We need to ask ourselves "how am I using my words?"

    I could tell story after story in my own life where I've used words against people, and they've used them against me. As a blogger/writer and as a preacher/teacher I use words a lot, so I especially need to be asking myself that question. This particular verse in James struck me hard about my words and how I speak:

    "If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless."
    (James 1:26)

    WOW! My religion will be worthless...my profession of faith and utterance of ugly words of hatred or disgust come from the same mouth, which would then nullify my profession! Thus James says:

    "but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.

    With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God's likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be."

    (James 3:8-10)

    Have we been cursing men lately? Have we as Christians been leading a charge with tame tongues, or tongues out of control? I am not speaking of any particular happenstance, simply asking a question. Taming the tongue DOES go deeper than just the mouth which utters such harsh words, it stems in our hearts. Jesus in Matthew 12: 34b says this: "...For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks."

    Jesus calls out our hearts. These are my ramblings, things I've been pondering about my words, about what I say corresponding with what I do and who I am. James challenges me every time I read his words about words. I hope this has challenged you today too!