Wednesday, November 8, 2023

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

What's in a word
No one can tame the tongue. It is an uncontrollable evil, full of deadly poison. James 3:8 NLT

With less than thirty letters, I can communicate anything.

The English alphabet contains only twenty-six letters, but combining them results in letters, poems, short stories, essays, research papers, and books. 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 we know someone is excited. A question mark and you’ll realize they desire information.  

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

Words reflect self-image. Hang around someone long enough, and we’ll discover what they think about themselves. We may feel the way we do because of messages our parents gave us when we were younger. Or a teacher. Perhaps because of things our spouses said. Our words reflect humility, pride, or distortions of both. God says we’re created in His image and a masterpiece in the making. Our words should reflect that we believe his Word.

Words demonstrate priorities. By looking at our financial register, we can uncover our priorities. The words we speak also give them away. What we talk about the most reveals our goals and passions. Jesus said the two greatest commands were to love Him with our total being and then others as we do ourselves. Whatever words we 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 us a black eye, broken nose, or missing tooth. It might even get us shot or cut. Words stir feelings in others. Those feelings lead to actions. Our words will cause others to react in healthy or unhealthy ways.

Words hurt or heal. Combining twenty-six letters will make others feel better about themselves and their situations or inflict emotional pain. We have the power to choose what we want to happen. We can cut them to the quick with our tongues or administer a soothing touch.

What will you do with your combination of twenty-six letters?

Father, may we use our words to honor You and build others up.

Tweetable: What do your words say to others? 

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