Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Choosing Words...

My kids and I have been in deep conversation lately about the power of words.  I have actually been in conversations with several people concerning this topic as of late.  I think even though we know better, we underestimate the power our words have.  And, when you use a public format such as social media, you need to be very wise in what words you share.  Once you make your words public, they are forever out "there".  Therefore, the words you choose to submit for anyone and everyone to read should be chosen very wisely.

With my kiddos, I have been encouraging the wisdom of Thumper's parents, "If you can't say something nice... don't say nothing at all."  Words slip from children's lips effortlessly and often carelessly.  I have been working with Cecely and Titus to understand the consequences of their words.  We all have words that we have heard that we wish we never had.  My children are dealing with that right now.  In having hurtful words said to them, they understand the pain and sting that comes from ill-thought conversations.  At the same time, this has helped them to understand the importance of carefully choosing their words when talking with others.  I ask them, "are the words you are using building other people up or tearing them down?"  I want them to understand that there are consequences for the things they say.  Thankfully, I have been blessed with two very smart and very compassionate children.  At this point in their lives, we are preparing for transitioning to public school where I know they will be privy to conversations that will use different language than we do, they will be faced with bullies, they will be pressured to conform to the norm and to say things to fit in.  I pray that with guidance and encouragement from me, that they will continue to think about what they say before they say it.  I pray that they will be confident and bold to speak the truth, but that they would not cross boundaries that could cause pain to another.  I pray that they will know when to speak out about something, or when it is time to address something individually and/or confidentially.

In my adult life, I am learning that there are many out there who do not realize the impact of their words.  I am an over-thinker.  I weigh out and pray about the words I share, especially publicly.  In my relationships, I tend to over process the words I want to say as well as the words I receive.  I have had a strong conviction in my heart over the past two years to work on my transparency.  While I am happy to have God use me, as uncomfortable as it can be, I want to share the words He has laid on my heart.  I want to use words that will draw people to Him through me, not words that cause hurt or condemnation.  I want the words I use to be honest, but loving.  In this world filled with controversy and anger, it is easy to speak out on topics.  But, it is my heart's desire to make sure that the words I am sharing are building up, not tearing down, as I teach my kids.  Once those words are out there, they cannot be taken back, and they are often not forgotten.  Again, I think boldness is essential, but knowing what the desire of my heart is when I speak boldly is essential. 

When we struggle with words, we can always turn to the Bible.  God, in all His sovereignty, has given us a great resource...His Word!!!  As Pastor Bruce Frank shared this past Sunday, the Bible is not a collection of the thoughts, ideas, and stories of men.  The Bible is God-breathed...He intentionally shared every word with the authors of the Bible.  Everything that is in His Word is there for a purpose.  God's words are bold, convicting, challenging, strong, and most importantly, loving.  Every word is filled with the love of God for His people.  Even when He is addressing the hard issues, when He is getting the attention of those who have wandered away, when He is unleashing the rains for a flood or fire from the heavens, when He was correcting those who were wrong, He spoke with love.  God is just, He is faithful, He is pure, and He is love.  This should be our ultimate goal.  Even when addressing the difficult subjects, when we feel convicted to share an opinion, or when we disagree with others, we need to carefully consider the words we use, the potential impact they have, and we need to reflect if they were actually shared in love.  Believe me, I am writing this for my benefit as much as anyone else.  I am working to be very aware of what I say, when I say it, and how I say it.  Words are too important to waste, too valuable to go unused.  I want to make sure my words count and that they are being used to bring others closer to Him.  Is what I say bringing glory to Him?

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