Monday, July 27
There is no denying that words are important and that the right word at the correct time doesn’t just make you look or sound smart… it can help avoid confusion, misunderstanding, and pain. Nouns, pronouns, adjectives, adverbs, verbs, … a lifetime ago I was a Lit major. Every day my “job” was to remember not merely the importance of words but also their power. If I was “in the zone”, papers were a breeze and the words simply flowed out with little reason for second-guessing or need for editing. When I was nowhere near “the zone”, the simplest assignment would take hours because I could not find the words that would convey my thoughts and ideas.
Because of that Lit major background, some of my conversations have taken a long time to conclude. In the constant mental search for the perfect word, there were several pauses (many of them awkward…). Over time, though, words can seem empty. You see, we have become used to and may even expect people to say just about anything to make themselves look good in our eyes as much as their own. Words will always fall flat when they are not followed by action that matches or furthers the content of their message. We all know people who are “all talk”. They will say anything but we don’t believe them because they lack action that is consistent with their words. These people don’t “walk the talk”.
Words can hurt and tear down people. The book of Proverbs has several warnings and reminders about the power of words. Typically the problem is that we give more importance to how our words make us feel than how they make others feel. For example, the more heated the argument, the more likely I am to want to “win”. In order for me to “win” the other person naturally has to “lose”.
Prov. 17:14, 19 (ERV)
14 The start of an argument is like a small leak in a dam. Stop it before a big fight breaks out.
19 A troublemaker loves to start arguments. Anyone who likes to brag is asking for trouble.
But fortunately, it is not all bad news! Words can also build up relationships and give people confidence, hope, and strength.
Prov. 17:9 (ERV)
9 Forgive someone, and you will strengthen your friendship. Keep reminding [nagging – my edit] them, and you will destroy it.
What is important and I need to remember is that words need to be followed by action and sometimes, it is best to keep my mouth shut and look smart…
Prov. 17:27 & 28
27 Intelligent people choose their words carefully. Those who know what they are doing remain calm.[a]
28 Silent fools seem wise. They say nothing and appear to be smart. (ERV)
So the challenge for me this week (and your mission, should you choose to accept it) is to “walk the talk”.
Alex Soares, Guest Writer
Alex is a dad to 3 kids ages 15-20 and the husband of Suzi Soares (Family & Special Needs Pastor). He grew up as a pastor’s kid in Brazil and came to the US to study violin performance in college. After becoming a dad, he changed his definition of success to “having those who know you best respect you the most” since it’s easy to impress people from a distance. He also holds the distinguished honor of having volunteered in every Liquid Family volunteer role (*wink, wink*).
Click the image below for the kickoff of Christmas in July Boredom Busters!