We’ve all experienced the power that words can have on a person, even on a community and a culture.
A kind word, a word spoken in encouragement, can have a profound and life giving affect on a person.
But words can also be used to harm, control, and confuse.
Back in the ’90’s when email really started to take off we had to learn to communicate using the written word in a whole new way. Suddenly, we were having conversations without speaking face-to-face or through an audio device. We no longer heard the tone, saw the facial expressions or body language of our colleagues and friends.
My boss at the time used to say, “Words are tricky.”
In the written word we use descriptive devices to capture this for the Reader, for example:
“‘You lost no time in claiming Heber’s birthright.’ There was no condemnation in her voice, just resignation.”
Without the sentence in bold you would most likely assume the person speaking disapproved and was being judgmental.
But we don’t write an email (and certainly not a text) the way we write a book.
Without the benefit of tone of voice and expression in a conversation, words can easily be construed and misunderstood. Back in the ’90’s I learned to navigate this in a business new to the world of emailing, and today I see it all the time as I read through comments on social media. “That’s not what I meant…” is a common defense claimed when someone’s words are misunderstood.
Yes, words are tricky. And few take the time to think and to carefully chose their words before they send them out into the world.
Words are a powerful weapon, for good or ill. Yet for all the power our words have, they cannot create something from nothing.
Only God can speak something into being.
“God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.”
“God said, ‘Let the earth bring forth living creatures,’ So it was.”
The Word of God, spoken, prayed, read aloud, is more powerful than the un-inspired word of man.
“God’s word is alive and working. It is sharper than the sharpest sword and cuts all the way into us. It cuts deep to the place where the soul and the spirit are joined. God’s word cuts to the center of our joints and our bones. It judges the thoughts and feelings in our hearts.” (Heb 4:12)
To the unbeliever, God’s word may be simply history, story or a list of dos and don’ts. But to the one changed forever by the blood of the cross and indwelt by the Holy Spirit it is God’s voice in an ever-flowing dialogue between the Creator and the created. The Holy Spirit is the conduit between our heart and God’s.
Knowing this, perhaps we should be more gracious than defensive when non-believers scoff or challenge God’s word. After all, God certainly doesn’t need us to defend Him. God simply calls us to share His word and our part of HIStory. By doing so we stand against those antagonistic to biblical truth in a way that glorifies God.
If you are one who reads the Bible and hears it as merely story and history, I encourage you to keep reading. Especially, these passages: Romans 3:23; 6:23; 5:8; 1 Peter 3:18; 2 Cor 5:21; Romans 10:9-10; Eph 2:8-9; 1 John 1:9-10; which can, as all scripture can, make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
Words may be tricky, but God promises that His word will accomplish its purposes. “So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.” Isaiah 55:11 NKJV
I encourage you to stand on His promise.