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The Words You Use

The Words You Use: (Audio)

Yesterday, we enjoyed dinner at our favorite little hometown diner. We’ve been going to it for 14 years, or more. We choose to go there when our favorite server is there. It’s not that we like her better than just about anybody, but we get a kick out of connecting with her and her family. She knows who she is!

Recently she posted a social media status that was a comical view of the life of a server, and with all the adult language that, I’m sure, many of you know just what I’m talking about, you could read the stress of that must be incredible to deal with if you do not have the right personality!

It was full of Sailor talk at the Salty Dawg Saloon!

Only, the reference to Salty Dawg is a real place in Homer, Alaska. On the spit, surrounded by Katchamek Bay and the beautiful Alaskan scenery. Locals and tourists alike enjoy this favorite stop. I’m sure there’s some salty language every so often, but it’s not to be expected just because of the name. It just sounded appropriate as I began to write!

Anyway, I got to thinking about the way our words often set the stage for what we expect out of life. You know…

“It never happens to me…” often means it NEVER happens to you! I never win anything. I never get a callback. I never, I never, I never! Well, you will never…whatever!

Why? Probably your words set the stage for your expectation and repeating certain catch phrases will keep your expectations low. If the unexpected happens then you are astounded. What do you say? “That never happens to me!”

The words we use are the path of life we choose to live on. Speak negative phrases, foul language, or spike your speech with uncolorful metaphors, then you will draw only those to you that connect. “Hey, that’s me! He talks just like me! Hey! Buddy! Can I join you?” Before you know it you are surrounded by nay sayers, foul speakers and so much colorful language that you are embarrassed when an innocent happens by. So much French being spoken! French? Well, they keep saying, “Pardon my French!” I hear that one a lot in Texas!

A subsection of the Gospel of Matthew is titled, “A Tree is Known By Its Fruit” and Jesus speaks some very pointed words to his followers.

“Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit. Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” (Matthew 12:33-37 NKJV)

Pretty power words! Well, the world is replete with admonitions that we should watch our language. Why? Again, back to the bible. “Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles!”(James 3:5) 

But wait a moment. It’s not just about the words we use, it’s more about how we use them. As my brother recently tweeted:

“A lie taught us as children: “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” Words are powerful for good or bad.” @RevKenGurley

It’s a lie to think the words we use mean little. No! Who we talk about and to, and how we phrase those words to others… Well, it’s damaging and it’s not French. There’s attitude connected to our words.

“Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.” -Mother Teresa

Words can be more powerful than atom bombs (Pearl Strachan), have energy and power to help, heal, hinder, hurt, harm, humiliate or to humble (Yehuda Berg). Words do not fade. What starts out as a sound, ends in a deed (Abraham Joshua Herschel). Words which do not give the light of Christ increase the darkness (Mother Teresa).

Behind the words you so casually use, there must be a history that gives you the power to speak them.

“Words have no power to impress the mind without the exquisite horror of their reality.” ~Edgar Allan Poe

If anyone should understand this, Poe should. With words, he painted the dark and scary world of the unreal. But we trembled as we read. Maybe this is why I prefer reading over watching something on a screen. The words are more real to my mind as I process each line of the author. The screen is full of Hollywood trickery, and I’m not shaking in my boots when I see their tomfoolery!

Though a picture may be worth a thousand words, I prefer spending time with the words.

One last thought. It was Winston Churchill that stated, “We are masters of the unsaid words, but slaves of those we let slip out.” There is something to be said about being in control. The power of saying nothing is more powerful than the words you speak. Words not spoken will rattle around in the brain pan of your internal voice, and will finally not be a part of your vocabulary because they are no longer used.

How you used to speak will be forever changed into a better voice that will help more than hurt.

I'm just saying, there is power in the words you choose to use. Choose wisely. Click To Tweet