Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Uplifting words

I'm in a women's Bible study group that is studying John and Stasi Eldredge's book, Captivating. It's pretty interesting and there's a lot of encouragement there for women who are struggling with the scars of the past. Many of those scars are the result of what people have said (especially things said by parents).

Then, Sunday, our pastor's sermon looked at the sixth commandment -- don't commit murder. But that applies to more than just physical killing. We murder people with our words, too. (A very funny skit illustrated that concept perfectly.)

Then, today, Dan Edelen posted this about the spiritual impact of words.

It's all got me thinking about the words I say and the words I write. I love language, I love the beauty and the fun I can have with words. But I know that words can be weapons even more damaging than sticks and stones. I developed my own defense against such weapons -- sarcasm and self-deprecating humor. But sarcasm can be misinterpreted and quickly degenerates into cynicism. And, while I don't want to take myself too seriously, constantly running myself down distracts me from the truth that God made me and loves me and calls me righteous.

The Bible has a lot to say about the dangers of an unfettered tongue: Prov. 4:24, 12:6 and 16:23, 27 are just a few in the book of Proverbs. James 3 is another relevant passage.

But to have acceptable speech, my heart needs to be in the right place. Ps. 51: 10-17 (ESV) says:
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and renew a right spirit within me.
11 Cast me not away from your presence,
and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and uphold me with a willing spirit.
13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
and sinners will return to you.
14 Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God,
O God of my salvation,
and my tongue will sing aloud of your righteousness.
15 O Lord, open my lips,
and my mouth will declare your praise.
16 For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it;
you will not be pleased with a burnt offering.
17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.

The other passage that came to mind is Psalms 19:14 (ESV):
14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be acceptable in your sight,
O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.

I'm still figuring out what that looks in my writing, but these are my daily prayers.

1 comment:

The Curmudgeon's Rant said...

Very uplifting, I needed that.