May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.- Psalm 19:14
Today in Sunday School we talked about choices. Everyday we are faced with choices. Some are minor, some major, but all have the ability to change our lives and the lives of others. Each choice has the potential to affect someone's mood, belief, health, faith, outlook, or even their life. This got me thinking about the choice of words that we use. I love words. I love the ability that words have to transport you to another world. To make you think. To put you in the presence of the thing being described. I am also a joker, and a drama queen. I love to use my words to make life more exciting - to make everything a story. Unfortunately, this makes me quite guilty of using words that should probably be saved for the more serious side of life. It occured to me today - am I unwittingly devaluing the Word or works or description of God by using some of the words I use? Am I nonchalantly teaching my children that the words we use don't have value? Bear with me for a bit as I pose these questions.
Awesome . I grew up mostly in the 90's. We used the word awesome to describe everything. Anything we liked or found exciting was awesome. I still use awesome on a daily basis. I looked awesome up in the dictionary. I does include slang, which is what I use. However, I also looked up awesome in the Bible. In a quick search I found the word awesome used 34 times. All of which were used to describe God, his works, or his creation. Are my children losing out on what awesome really means? How can I describe God and his sovereignty to them properly when I would use the same word to describe a show on tv or a cool car driving down the road?
Love. We use the word love for so many things. We often say we love someone to describe an infatuation with them. We downplay the meaning of what love really is. Goodness, I even use it to describe chocolate. I love chocolate! But what does this say about God? Really, if God is love, is that really the word I should use to describe my favorite sweatshirt? Probably not.
Starving. I like food. A lot. When I am hungry, it is not at all uncommon for me to say I am starving. I will look in the cupboard full of food and say there is nothing to eat. My kids do the same. We usually say it with quite flare as well (they inherited the drama queen gene from me). Unfortunately, what does this do to teach my kids about the people who are actually starving? When they show a child with a bloated belly who is skin and bones on tv, one who could actually die of starvation - how does my use of the word help that cause? Is it possible that I am contributing to the lack of compassion for those who really are without food?
Sick and tired. How many of us use this saying? "I am sick and tired of..." Such a common expression. Just an expression, yes. But what of those people who really are sick and tired. Those whose bodies actually can't function the way they should anymore? Are we downplaying the seriousness of their predicament? Are we pushing aside the actual sick and tired because we are more concerned about how sick and tired we are of politics, bad drivers, unruly kids?
Jesus. The name above all names. Blessed Redeemer. Living Word. Emmanuel. God with us. Beautiful Savior. This word I do love. This man I do love. I am offended when people use His name in vain. It is not something I do. Or do I? I have found myself saying "Thank you, Jesus!" without really meaning it. Or saying "God help us" with a hint of sarcasm. Or finding it funny when others do. Don't get me wrong, we have much to thank Jesus for. Everything really. But when we use it nonchalantly, even in "appropriate" ways, are we using his name in vain? When our heart does not reflect the words are we downplaying His awesomeness?
God gave us the gift of words. He gave us the ability to create wondrous things with these words. But we must also choose to use our words wisely. My examples above barely scratch the surface of the affect words can have. I know that it is important for me to begin to think before I speak. Or write. Will my words lift up? Will they tear down? Will they downplay the importance of God in my life or his creation? Just a thought.