Words mean things

 This week I have been really focusing on the sections of the Face to Face book that deal with cultivating my character.  Maybe it is because I am reading the book of Proverbs along with the book.  On Day 22 this one struck me:
“What is desirable in a person is kindness,
And it is better to be poor than a liar.” (Prov. 19:22)
Also, these two from Day 25:
“In a multitude of words, transgression does not cease,
but those who restrain their lips are wise” (Prov. 10:19)
“Fools have no delight in understanding,
But only in airing their own opinions” (Prov. 18:2)
 These Proverbs all have to do with words. Words matter.  Words mean things.  How we speak and how we use our words are very important to developing our Christian character.  The first proverb speaks to kindness and liars.  Kindness is not just kind actions, but I think more importantly kind words.  I knew this to be true with my Dad.  After he entered sobriety, he took it as his mission to make every person he met feel special with kind words.  Sometimes it was embarrassing, but that was my problem, not his.  The proverb then contrast kindness with the character of a liar.  To lie, one must necessarily use words – deceptive words.  Wisdom would rather endure the hardship of economic poverty than the poverty of the character of a liar.
The second day continues the theme of words.  I think Proverbs 10:19 was especially true through the election.  So many words and yet so little said.  I have to admit, I do like to watch the news and watch the talking heads spin their points of view.  But in reading this proverb, the cloud of words that come forth from the supposed learned, absolutely baffle me.  Wisdom is frugal with words.  Because words have meaning and are powerful, it is important to spend the economy of communication wisely.  Those that spend their words thoughtlessly are like the fool of Proverbs 18:2. Delighting in one’s own opinion is foolish.  Opinions are important, but only if they are subject to scrutiny.  The Fool, having no desire for deep understanding, views their opinion as the highest of form of truth.  Relativism is what comes from this attitude and truth is lost.
So, what do I do personally with these proverbs.  First, I must be kind with my words.  I need to be sure that the words that I use build people up and not tear them down. Second, I need my words to be truthful.  Deception leads to a degradation of character. The words I use, if I am marked as a liar, will not have impact. Third, I need to be economical with my words.  I need to say what I mean to say, make sure I am clear in my meaning, and ensure I am understood.  I am responsible for being understood, not the hearer of my words.  Finally, I need to be open to rebuttal and scrutiny.  That is the only way I am going to learn.  I need to be able to throw my opinions and beliefs into the combat of the arena of ideas and let them stand or fall.  I need to be able to communicate kindly, truthfully, succinctly, and clearly.
“God, you are Holy and awesome.  At your name, all will bow and know that you alone are God.  Holy Father, I ask that your Holy Spirit guide my words.  I ask that you help be to be kind, truthful, succinct, and clear in representing you to a fallen and lost world.  So many people are in need of hearing about you and your Son Jesus.  May my communication be Your words.  May my speech be blessed with your breath. In the name of Jesus my Lord and Savior.”

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