Words – they are tools to communicate - not the only tools, but one important tool.
When the ancient prophet Hosea calls wayward Israel back to God, he says, “Take words with you and return to the Lord.” (Hosea 14:2
Words – they are a window into our hearts. Jesus said: “It’s your heart, not the dictionary, that gives meaning to your words. A good person produces good deeds and words. … Every one of these careless words is going to come back to haunt you. Words are powerful, take them seriously.” (Matthew 12:34-37, "The Message," Eugene Peterson)
In Matthew 6 Jesus told a huge crowd of people that some people think the more words they use, the better they will be heard. (Matt. 6:7) Then Jesus concludes, “NOT – no way – not going to happen !” (my translation not His)
I have a really good friend who is a man of few words. An example that I will remember and giggle over forever is the night we were talking about dealing with anger in a group. Someone asked something like, “Well, what do you do if you don’t get the desired result and you’re angry with someone ?” He quietly and calmly said only one word, “Reload.” Think about it!
My brother is one of the commanders on the ground in Iraq. Several times I have written him detailed emails. He does respond. The response is something like: “Gotcha” or “Noted.” He’s a busy man of few words. He communicates all that is needed with a word.
Words are in the news today. Not a few words but many words – too many words and the wrong kind of words. Duane “Dog” Chapman, the bounty hunter, is in big trouble for using multiple racial slurs in a phone conversation with his son. His son taped the conversation and sold it to a “sensation rag.” Now “Dog” is in trouble, scrambling to rewind and recover and booted from his TV show.
“Dog” says he’s sorry and regrets his “inappropriate language.” He said all that and more including crying on the Shaun Hannity show last night on TV in an exclusive interview.
A very wise man once told me that people use profane words due to their limited vocabulary. They resort to the lazy way to express their thoughts because their word resources are limited.
Words expose both our hearts and our emotions.
In another time some mothers demonstrated this to their children by washing their mouths out with soap after naughty words were spoken by the child. It’s a very effective deterrent unless the pattern of bad words is already firmly established. In that case, more drastic measures may be required. In any case, the only permanent fix for a dark heart that spews forth evil words is God’s grace at work to restore hearts, minds and mouths.