I am determined not to sin in what I say. Psalm 17:3 NLT
Playing with words is intoxicating.
I’m not accustomed to sign language—nor do I need to be. I employ words, not hands, when speaking. And since I’m a writer, I play with words daily, trying to find the right one that says exactly what I intend and that will pique the readers’ interests so they’ll turn the next page or examine the next post.
To make my words do the trick, I do acrobats. Reviewing grammar rules is one. Varying sentence structure is another. Finding vivid nouns, adjectives, and verbs is crucial. Avoiding too many adverbs is wise.
Getting where I am wasn’t easy. Hard work, daily practice, and mistakes came along the way. And I’m still learning. I recently found a website that evaluates articles, telling whether they’re flabby, trim, lean, or in need of toning.
We communicate with words, but they’re tricky. As David well knew, they can be formulated into sinful utterances. He, however, was determined not to sin with his words.
Words reflect my heart . . . my character. They tell others who I am and what’s important to me. Jesus said something similar to David, “For whatever is in your heart determines what you say (Matthew 12:34).” If Christ’s forgiveness has changed my heart, others should notice. Choosing the correct word is essential.
What I say can’t be retracted. Once it’s out, it’s out. I can solicit forgiveness, wish I hadn’t said it, say I’m sorry, but I can’t retrieve it and stuff it back into my mouth. Damaging words create damage.
Since words reflect my character, they become a good or poor witness. Jesus reminds believers we are salt and light. Bad words make my salt kill instead of preserve and enhance. They also hide and eventually extinguish my light for Him.
The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control. And my words should regularly reflect those traits. Sure, I’ll slip occasionally. I’m not perfect. No one is. But with God’s help—and my determination—I’ll get better at speaking every day, just as I hope to do with writing.
Let God help you choose the right words.
Tweetable: What can you change about your speech?
Prayer: Father, remind us our words are a reflection of who we are. Help us let others see You through them.