What’s in a Word?

Several years ago, I heard a speaker talking about an incident that happened on his blog. He had written a post that was a little less than friendly toward a public figure. The post was not meant to be hurtful or mean — it was just a funny jab at someone else’s expense. Soon, comments began to roll in as one person added on and then another. Most people were ‘joking’ with their comments but the words were not nice. Eventually, a single person chimed in and said something to the effect of, ‘we’d better hope she never reads this.’

It’s been almost five years and there’s not a week that goes by that I don’t think along those same lines. “I hope that he/she never reads that.”

What's in a Word

From celebrities, political figures, athletes, or any other public figure, attacks come swift and without personal knowledge. Everyone feels that they can add their opinion or make a joke simply because the person is a public figure. In the back of my mind, that little voice whispers once again, “I hope he/she never reads this.”

I realize that public figures are accustomed to really, really harsh words. That’s not to say that they are okay with cruelty. Public figures have just as much feeling as the average person.

Anyway, I wonder about the words uttered — especially if the writer/speaker claims Christianity.  What if the the public figure associates the person speaking with Christ? Worse than just their hurt feelings, what do they think of God? How is the Almighty viewed because of the words written in jest, competition, or differences?

So, what’s a Christian to do in this media soaked, opinionated world? Are we to keep our opinions to ourselves? Is it okay to air our thoughts? And does it really matter where we speak those opinion?

In this election season and in such a heightened political environment, it’s important that a Christian understands what the Bible says about our words.

What's in a Word

Honestly, there’s a lot! So we’re not gonna look at everything! But let’s start with a few simple questions we should be asking ourselves —

1.Are my words dignified?

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. 1 Timothy 2: 1-2

Social media gives so many people a voice. Alone this is not a bad thing.

However, as Christians, we need to evaluate if we are using our voice in a dignified and godly manner.

1 Timothy 2: 1-2

So, what exactly is dignity? The Dictionary defines it like this:  having or showing a composed or serious manner that is worthy of respect.

If being dignified is equated to respect consider who you respect. Who are the people throughout history that earned your highest respect? What were their words like? Do your words follow the same thread?

Go ahead, check your social media feed — are those words worthy of respect?

Remind them of these things, and charge them before God not to quarrel about words, which does no good, but only ruins the hearers. Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. But avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness. 2 Timothy 2: 14-16

2.Am I being gracious?

Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body. Proverbs 16: 24

Gracious comes with two definitions: 1. courteous, kind, and pleasant 2. (in Christian belief) showing divine grace.

I struggle with this one immensely. What I’ve learned is that I have to be honest with myself.

Proverbs 16: 24

It’s not about whether or not I agree with the words — it’s whether or not the words are kind and full of the grace that Jesus offered me.

My words can bring life, health, and good things to the world around me. Am I utilizing that power or am I voicing my opinion?

3. Are my words acceptable?

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer. Psalm 19: 14

Considering God hears every thought I think (let alone any word I speak or write), is He happy with what He finds?

Is what I say respectful of the person He died for? Do my words show the grace that He showed me?

Psalm 19: 14

4. Am I proud of that word?

I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak,for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned. Matthew 12: 36-37

When judgement day comes and you have to hear your words spoken back to you, are you going to be proud of that thing you said?

In whatever manner it’s repeated back to you, will you like what you hear?

And what about the words you didn’t actually say but “liked”? What if you have to give an account of those words too? Are they worthy to stand beside the pearly gates?

Are you going to be proud of those mean, divisive things you said or liked when standing among the angels?

5. Are you seeing answered prayers?

The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. Luke 6: 45

If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. John 15: 7

If you pray and never see results, check your words.

If your mouth is speaking words that hurt then God is not in abundance in your heart. God is love so your words should be love. Check 1 Corinthians 13 for all that love is.

Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 1 John 4: 8

God is love

If God’s loving words are filling us then they will leak out. If they are abiding in us then what we ask will be in-line with His will. If what we ask is in-line with His will then He’s promised to work miracles.

If your not seeing miracle then there’s a problem with the heart of issue. Your words are just an outward sign of that heart condition. So what are they telling you?

Along these same lines, have you been praying small prayers because you haven’t seen God working? Well, it’s time to change your heart, change your words, and pray bigger prayers!

There’s so much more about out words in the Bible but let’s stop here for today. Society seems to have given us permission to speak whatever we want but the Bible doesn’t hold that same standard. The Bible gives us a much higher standard. And it’s time we started to meet God’s standard instead of the worlds.

What's in a word_

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