Words, Words, Words.

By the time I read all the Twitter, Facebook & Plaxo updates, and a few of the myriad blogs I follow, my brain is awhirl with words. If amazes me that often words are thrown into the air, or onto paper, or into cyber-space via the internet seemingly without a thought given to how they might be received. I experienced that very thing recently. I responded to one of those aggravating "notes" on Facebook titled "25 Words About Me", or some other inane title. I had resisted perhaps twenty invitations to do this, and finally I caved in. I did not give a lot of thought to this, but breezed through it as if it were that game where you respond to a word or phrase with the first thing that pops into your head. Bad idea! Immediately I was upbraided (deservedly so) by my two daughters over one word out of the twenty-five.
Just this week Baptist Press ran an article about a pastor (not Southern Baptist) that bordered on a hatchet job. This pastor just so-happened to be speaking at one of our seminaries. They pulled things out of the guy's past, for which he had publicly repented. It was hard to tell if the purpose was to slam the pastor, or to castigate the seminary for having him on campus. The article set off a flurry of blogs. The ones that I've read have raised some valid points about how we often point out the specks in the eyes of others while overlooking planks in our own. Bottom line; the words used by BP have elicited a response I don't think they expected or desired.
In Proverbs 10:19-21 Solomon says, "When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is wise. The tongue of a righteous man is choice silver; the heart of the wicked is of little worth. The lips of the righteous feed many, but fools die for lack of sense." In Matt. 12:36-37 Jesus warns us that "...on the day of judgment people will give an account for every careless word they speak (or write, I would add); for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned."
So, be careful what you say, or what you write. I once heard that when we speak, there are three dynamics in play. 1. What you actually said. 2. What you thought you were saying. 3. What your audience thought they heard you say. That is even further exacerbated when put in print because then you don't have the opportunity to explain if there is a misunderstanding. It is wise to make sure your brain is in gear before your tongue starts to wag, or your fingers start to tap the keys.


Comments

Bill, this is so true. We've had some issues at work recently where EMAIL was the source of hurt feelings in one instance and an avalanche of meetings between parent/principal/teacher on another....all over misunderstanding of words...not know the tone or motive behind them.
Joe said…
It was great to see you and Raye today at Upward. Thaks for everything. Joe C.

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