Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them. – Ephesians 4:29
I love words. I always have. Long before I was a writer I was a serious reader and I learned early on to appreciate the sound of words, the shape and the weight of them, their texture, their color, their soul.
Words are important because our thinking, our cognition, our articulation, our interpretation, and our communication all rely on vocabulary.
Words are more powerful than many of us suspect. If our vocabulary is littered with negativity, cynicism, bitterness, sarcasm, hate, or bigotry, then our thoughts will likewise be governed by the shape of these words…
…However, if we routinely learn, understand, and use words of grace, expressions of life, phrases of encouragement, and sayings of benevolence, our thoughts and ultimately our actions are lifted up; they are going to reflect the content of our active consciousness.
The English language includes upwards of a half million words, but the average working vocabulary has been variously estimated between 10,000 and 25,000 words. I wonder how many of those are words of grace? There are certainly enough available words to choose from if any of us want to enrich our selection!
We all know the famous axiom: “As a man thinketh, so he is.” The saying is based on Proverbs 23:7, “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.”
The words we use to think and to communicate are inseparable from our souls – our vocabulary sets the tone and defines the parameters for what it means for us to be spiritual beings.
This column might be worth thinking about as you prepare to launch your next tweet… talk with someone in your family about something difficult… respond to something negative or provocative… interact with a colleague at the office… weigh in on the political or social “issue-de-jour”…
Likewise, the words/ideas we let into our heads seep down into our consciousness, our subconscious, our psyche, and our souls too. Think about that when you’re about to listen to talk radio on the drive to work! Maybe the time would be better spent redeeming your consciousness rather than polluting it with graceless cynicism and hate?
Instead, heed the advice of the Apostle Paul: “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2)
I typically favor more contemporary translations, but the Ephesians 4 passage we started with offers beautiful language in the KJV as we close: “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.”
Let’s minister a little grace, friends, and – especially – politicians. Let’s minister a little grace – Derek
Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at https://www.amazon.com/Derek-Maul/e/B001JS9WC4), and there’s always something new in the works.
Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor’s degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.
Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men’s Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.