Monday, April 18, 2016

What’s in a Word? Part 3 - Martin Wiles

No one can tame the tongue. It is an uncontrollable evil, full of deadly poison. James 3:8 NLT

With less than 30 letters, I can communicate anything. 

The English alphabet contains only 26 letters, but a combination of them is responsible for every paragraph, letter, poem, short story, essay, research paper, and book that’s ever been penned. Words can change their function. Verbs show action. Adjectives describe which one, what kind, how many, how much, and whose. Adverbs tell when, where, how, how often, and to what extent. Conjunctions join independent and dependent clauses. Put an exclamation point behind a word and you’ll know I’m excited. A question mark and you’ll know I desire information.   

If the tongue—with which I speak these words—is untamable, what hope do I have of using my words for good? God can tame my tongue. 

Words reflect self-image. Hang around me long enough and you’ll discover what I think about myself. I may think the way I do because of messages my parents gave me when I was younger. Or a teacher. Perhaps because of things my spouse said. My words reflect humility, pride, or distortions of both. God says I’m created in His image and a masterpiece in the making. My words should reflect my belief of His words.

Words demonstrate priorities. By looking at my checkbook or debit card register, I can uncover my priorities. The words I speak also give them away. What I talk about the most reveals my goals and passions. Jesus said the two greatest commands were to love Him with my total being and then others as myself. Whatever words I speak or write should communicate that. 

Words initiate consequences. Walking up to the wrong person and telling them what a sorry something or other they are might get me a black eye, broken nose, or missing tooth. It might even get me shot or cut. Words stir feelings in others. Those feelings lead to actions. My words will cause others to react in healthy or unhealthy ways. 

Words hurt or heal. My combination of 26 letters will make others feel better about themselves and their situations or inflict emotional pain. I have the power to choose which I want to happen. I can cut them to the quick with my tongue or administer a soothing touch. 

What will you do with your combination of 26 letters?

Prayer: Father, may we use the words we speak to honor You and build others up. 

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