Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Speak with Care
These are the words my Dad will obnoxiously yell each and every time he slaps the draw pile on a Rummy table. He's quite animated in his belief that if he slaps the stack of cards hard enough when he yells, that the best card in the deck will be at his fingertips when he draws. It's silly, annoying and quite futile, but no matter how long he plays, this little antic is a big part of his game. I don't know what it is about it, but his uncanny ability to have faith in his own ability to conjure the best card and win is endearing.
The funny thing is that I know he knows that yelling at a deck of cards has no power to change the quality of the card on top. It's downright silly to think that a ceremonial slap and voicing an order to an inanimate object would alter the results of a game of skill, but according to him, he's done it for decades. Nobody who loves him expects him to stop this side of Glory. Let's face it, it's kind of cute when people pretend their words have power to change the unchangeable. I mean, it's not like my Dad is changing anything with his words, right?
But what if he was? What if we were?
What if we gave ourselves permission to say silly things that culminated in the chipping away of someone's confidence, honor, or future? What if, by giving ourselves permission to be poor managers of our mouths, we shove people into pits that we ourselves aren't strong enough to crawl out of? Or worse, what if our words really did have the power to lend worth to a person contemplating their significance? What if a truth spoken in love had the ability to snatch a loved-one from a grave? What if the overflow from our hearts was supposed to flow from our mouths and heal the sick,discourage sin and raise the dead?
What if, when the world desperately needs us to be quiet, we carry on and on and on?
What if, when the world desperately needs us to speak truth in love, we withhold what they need the most?
Words. Count them. Memorize them. Practice them. Swallow them. Borrow them. Our words can rape a mind or encourage the masses. They are a currency with the power to rob and ravage or to help and heal. But of all the things you can say about their power, they can never be erased or voided, and they can never travel back in time to change a destiny.
Speak with care. But, for God's sake, speak!
The right word at the right time
is like a custom-made piece of jewelry. (Proverbs 25:11)
Out of the same mouth pour blessings and curses. My friends, how can this be? (James 3:9)