Monday, May 22, 2017

Every Word

Have you ever thought about what happens with our used up words? You know, all the words we have spoken to another. Those quiet words and those words screamed off the roof top. Those tender words and those filled with hate. Where do they all go after they have left our mouths? Straight to the heart of another. Sure, people say that they let words roll off their back, but is that really possible? I don't think so. We would like to pretend words don't hurt us, but our wounds are deep with cuts from words. 

They are powerful. They hold such meaning. Then there are the useless words. You know them. Those spoken in gossip and judgement. Those cursed with spewed ignorance. Those shared with one, but end up all over town. They fill our homes and our churches. Children learn at a young age to not speak bad words, all the while their parents can't keep them in their mouths. Oh, the words that spill from our lips. 

Here's something to ponder. Well, I've been pondering for a few weeks now. What if at the beginning of our life we were only given a certain amount of words? Once they are used up that's it. No more. Maybe each day when we rise we are given an amount of words. Would we keep count? Would it matter to use how we used our words? Could we possibly learn to speak without so many words, but live out our love by action? 

Yes, just think about. We wake only having a certain amount for our day. We get out of bed, yell at the dog because he just couldn't wait until he went outside. Those nice clean socks are no longer wearable. Before we get in our car we spill coffee and there spewed from us are words we think are worthy of our anger. Oh, mercy me. We head to work, but traffic has us all tide in knots. It's a good thing we have glass to protect us from the people we are fowling up a pole and wishing they were dead. Right? How do people even make it to work with the way we drive? 

That's only the first hour of our day. There's work, school, the grocery, more traffic to get back home, and well, there's home. Yeah, that place where we feel so free to allow words to spill. I mean no one else can hear us, right? The kids need to listen anyway. Good grief, when are they gonna get it? The husband, well, why does he have to be so useless at home? Anger spews. The kids hear it all. These words fill them with such emotion. 

There's one side to our words, but what happens when the phone rings and it's Joann from down the street? Ever wonder how our voice can change from sounding like a blow
horn at one moment and the next we are June Cleaver. Our hello just smiles. Church is a place where our words are softly spoken with a tender smile. Oh, the love that flows from our mouths, but then we get in the car and wow, you know, right? We are spewing once again. Just where do those words go? 

We have our moments, right? We can speak with such care. Our hearts ache for others. We reach out and just wanna say something to help comfort. I can't tell you how many times I have opened my mouth to only wish I'd zipped it shut. How does that happen? It sounds so good before it leaves my lips, but then when I actually hear what I have just spoken it sounds as if I was dropped on my head as a baby. Where does it all go wrong? When does it all go right? 

It begins in our heart. Let's be real. We carry a lot of anger. That bitterness grows from a deep root. Jealousy is real. Let's not pretend it isn't. There is nothing that happens to us in our lives that doesn't leave it's mark. We bury our wounds so they won't come out and show themselves, but they do, don't they? 

Sure, our hearts hold such love, grace, and mercy. That's a God-love in us. When we allow Him to live through us, well, things change. We think before we speak. Our words mean more to us than just overflow. Sure, ever meet a person that never shuts up? You can't get in a word edgewise. It's that person who is always talking but never saying anything. Go on the other side of the spectrum and we have a person filled with so much to share, wisdom and stories, but they remain quiet because they have been made to feel like what they have to say isn't important at all. 

With our God-love we realize our actions are love in motion. Temptation to use our gift of words poorly never ends for us. But we can live more aware. In how we use our words is a choice. No one forces us to open our mouth. Whether love or hate escapes is all on us. We try to place blame on others and on situations, don't we? Isn't it time for us to hold ourselves accountable? 

I love you. 
I forgive you. 

These words hold meaning. They hold within them Jesus. Love our enemy? Yeah, hard to do, but with a Jesus-love, possible. Be kind to our neighbor? A hello with a smile, a wave, just may be what lifts another person's day. We never really know the heart of another until we give up ourselves and invest time in them. But that person passing by, the one we may never meet again, we have an opportunity to share with them words of love. It doesn't have to be a five minute conversation. I mean, that's a lot of our time, right? And our time is valuable. Well, guess what? People are more valuable. One of these days we are going to run out of time. 

So, just what if at the beginning of our day with our full amount of words we use up all we have before we make it home at night? There's our kids waiting for our love and attention, but we have used up every bit of words possible. Were they words that were valuable? Did they hold a great importance to another? Did they uplift or did they just cut down? Encourage and inspire or did they bury another deep? 

So much can spoken. Words are powerful antidotes of healing. We remember words spoken by our parents, our grandparents, our siblings, our teachers, our co-workers, and those at church. Words leave behind legacy. Just what that legacy is, well, that's up to us. 

Let us remember that all words have motive. Whether good or bad they are meant to make an impact. Our words begin in the depth of our heart. A heart filled with love speaks words of truth and grace. One filled with hate spews words of fire. We are what we eat? Well, we are what we speak. Our very reputation begins with foundation our words pour. What can be built with words of hate? 

We can speak truthful words or spill from our lips lies. It takes more words to spill lies than it does to speak the words of truth. That's huge! Again, what breaths from our mouths is totally up to us. We can stop the hate and begin the love. 

I grew up in a home of racism. The "N" word was spoken with such hate. Even as a child I knew the fire behind that evil word. What we as adults to in moderation our children will do in excess. Hate is taught. It is grown from words of old and hearts too ignorant to change. We can't cover up ugly. Not when it's pouring from the mouth. The same is with curse words. That "F" bomb that so many thinks is just an expression, well, it makes me ill. Doesn't show much intelligence when there are so many expressive words to choose from, but then it always goes back to choice. 

Even as a child I knew that I would choose never to speak such words of hate. People, if we will listen to children and grandchildren they can teach us a lot about the kindness of our words. Greater lessons are learned from kind words than from words of disappointment. 

Maybe we haven't been using our words wisely. Maybe we have been using them up for things that just don't matter. That moment of anger passes and then what? Those words remain alive. That hurting heart that hears words of comfort will never forget the love shared with them. Our every word matters. 

Think about that last conversation of gossip. Yeah, ponder how many useless words were spoken to tear down another. Words that were probably not even of truth. Hollow words are spoken daily, but they hit like a dead tree trunk slamming down. 

We can find such beauty in our words. I love that our days have the potential to leave a story told by our words. A story that points to Jesus. One that has power to shield, to mold, to build a foundation, to lift up, to inspire, to instruct. Every word spoken has power. Think about that.

Our words speak of character and integrity. What is it that we want to leave behind as our words are spoken? It is possible to bring about life with loving words. May we choose them wisely and speak them willy-nilly, allowing anything to flow from our lips. There is always someone listening. Some of the worst words spoken are those shared in secret. Ever think about living with the impact our words has on another? A bully doesn't have to punch with fists. All they have to do is open their mouth with words that bring anxious fear. 

Today is a new day. A new roll of words. A vocabulary of endless love. Maybe if we took the time to know the meaning of our words we would use them differently. If we knew the impact on the heart of the one hearing them just maybe we would say something different. 

Choose love today. 

Choose words that speak more of Jesus than they do of this world.

Let our words be enjoyable to the ears in hearing. 

May we not be empty of words when it really matters.

"All bitterness, anger and wrath, shouting and slander must be removed from you you, along with all malice. And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ." Ephesians 4:31-32

"So too, though the tongue is a small part of the body, it boasts great things. Consider how large a forest a small fire ignites. And the tongue is a fire. The tongue, a world of unrighteousness, is placed among the parts of our bodies. It pollutes the whole body, sets the course of life on fire, and is set on fire by hell." James 3:5-6

"A gentle answer turns away anger, but a harsh word stirs up wrath." Proverbs 15:1

"There is one who speaks rashly, like a piercing sword; but the tongue of the wise brings healing." Proverbs 12:18

"The one who guards his mouth protects his life; the one who opens his lips invites his own ruin." Proverbs 13:3


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