A few weeks ago, a blogger that I had never met before asked if she could use one of my papercuttings as an image in an upcoming post on “How we use our words.” And I said, “Sure!” because that’s a topic that is near and dear to my heart. Donna Farley of The Rafter’s Scriptorium just let me know that the post is up. It is part of a synchroblog (That’s a new word for me!) where a group of bloggers are posting on the same topic. There are some very thoughtful posts linked there, and reading them this morning got the wheels turning in my head. Which can be dangerous.
In today’s time, words are plentiful, but most of them are not “fitly spoken.” There is a plethora of sarcasm out there. Snarliness and snarkiness are commonplace. Cursing abounds, as do euphemisms for curse words. I often wonder, “Do they KNOW what that word is short for?!” Dirty jokes are e-mailed back and forth and posted on Facebook. Humor is “in your face” and often crude. And even in our close relationships, we kid and tease each other with cutting remarks. Where are we going with all this?
The only place I know to go is to THE Word.
There’s plenty of Wisdom to be found in the Bible on the subject of our words. What I find there is that controlling our tongues doesn’t just mean waiting until the kids are playing in the other room before you tell that joke. Or saying something good about someone to their face and then tearing them apart when they walk away. Or using a euphemism when you mean the real thing. No, our words go deeper. All the way to the heart.
Let the words of my mouth,
and the meditations of my heart,
be acceptable in Thy sight,
O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.
Rest assured… if this verse is highlighted in my Bible, it’s for a good reason. Because I need to flip by that page every once in a while and see it there all colored in bright red. I’ve had my share of snappy moments, believe me. I’ve gotten on the soapbox of sarcasm more times than I’d like to admit. But He’s still working on me… and thankfully, that Still Small Voice tugs at my heartstring when I go over the line.
Many years ago, I read Proverbs 25: 11 for the first time…
A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.
…And it made absolutely no sense at all to me. Not even grammatically. It was like the road sign “Bridges ice before highways.” As a kid, I could NOT figure out what that meant, but now as a grown-up, I can’t figure out what was so confusing about it. Of course bridges ice before highways. Same with the “apples of gold” verse. Now it makes perfect sense. It’s highlighted in red too.
God’s Word gives us some excellent advice concerning how we speak, and if I could encourage anyone to do anything, it would be to encourage others with your words. In this day of bullying and sarcasm and just plain meanness, an encouraging word from us can build others up instead of tearing them down like the rest of the world is doing. As a wife, mother, daughter, sister, grandmother, friend, and neighbor… and as a Christian… it really helps me to remember to keep this as a goal…
She opens her mouth with wisdom
and in her tongue is the law of kindness.
Proverbs 31: 26
That’s also highlighted in red. As you can tell, I need LOTS of reminders!