Wednesday, August 19, 2015

The Weight of Our Words - Part I

If you haven’t noticed yet, I am a lover of words. Some of my girlfriends affectionately call me Word Girl. I love words so much that I get a daily e-mail from Merriam- Webster with the word of the day. Mmmhmm, yes, that’s me.

One of the things that I love about words is how they can inspire and encourage people. It brings such joy to my heart when someone tells me that something I’ve said or written has touched them.

Usually, I carefully think about my words before I put them to paper or release them from my mouth.  Except when I don’t, which usually gets me in trouble.

A few weeks ago my husband and I were out to dinner with people from his office. There was joking and laughing. Someone made a joke and I joined in and said something in jest about my husband. I was sincerely just trying to be silly, but after the words came out of my mouth, I realized how they may have come across. Regret set in.  

I’m not a naturally witty person, so I sometimes try to make a quick sarcastic quip and get people to laugh. But, that is not my gifting. I should know better by now.

Here is Merriam-Webster’s definition of the word sarcasm: “a sharp and often satirical or ironic utterance designed to cut or give pain.” The Greek origin of the word is sarkasmos, which means “to tear at the flesh.”

Our words sure have the potential to tear at someone’s flesh, don’t they?

It took a few days for the cut of what I’d said to heal. It was a good reminder to me of how our words carry such weight, of how they can impact others in ways both good and bad.

I am reminded of Ephesians 4:29 NIV which says, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”

This week, let’s be cautious with our words and intentional about avoiding sarcasm. Instead let’s build each other up through the things we say and how we say them. 

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