Choosing Our Words Wisely
In our early months of ministry, my husband lovingly pointed out a couple of my ‘rough edges’ that would likely create an issue for us. What was strange about these requests is that he’d never had a problem with my behavior prior. I wasn’t offended by the request, but I was a bit surprised when this hint of duty surfaced simply because I now carried the title, Pastor’s Wife. His gentle nudging and final request in one area of potential conflict went something like this –
He - “You really have to stop saying that.”
Me - “But that word just fits perfectly sometimes.”
He – I know, but it’s just not wise.”
And so, I submitted to his wisdom and years of experience dealing with church leadership.
What was the issue that made him so uncomfortable with his new bride? My ‘colored’ vocabulary. Gasp! Yep, me. The good girl that my parents raised had retained a pet word even after I rededicated my life to the Lord. I was not blind to the fact that this particular word was definitely not something that was considered socially acceptable by my parent’s generation, and it could definitely be deemed as crude and vulgar by others.
A bit begrudgingly, I admitted that it probably wasn’t the wisest choice of a word to have in my vocabulary and understandably not the best choice of words to be heard coming out of the mouth of the new pastor’s wife. And so, I submitted to my husband’s wishes and look back at that day with a grin and a shake of my head. He was so wise!
Fast forward 30 years, and now my choice of words has been the topic of discussion in a local school. When my daughter, a high school teacher, was addressing the incessant use of foul language in her classroom she mentioned that she had grown up in a home where there was no cursing. The students were dumbfounded. “What do you mean?” they asked. “How is that even possible?” She simply replied that not every family curses non-stop in all their conversations. Some laughed at the thought, others were blown away by the concept.
Our words do make a difference. Our choice of words have power. Our words give others a sneak peek into our hearts. Our words may be carried around by others for years to come – be that for good or bad. Our words are a reflection of our faith and our Savior. Our words define us.
May we each pause and consider what has been heard coming out of our mouths in recent days and reflect on what God’s Word has to say about our choice of speech.
“He who restrains his words has knowledge, And he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding.” Proverbs 17:27 (NAS)
“Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving.” Ephesians 5:4 (ESV)
“Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.” Colossians 4:6 (NLT)
“When there are many words, sin is unavoidable, but the one who controls his lips is wise.” Proverbs 10:19 (HCS)
Dear Heavenly Father, I am so far from perfect. I speak when I should be silent. I get my words twisted from time to time. My tone isn’t always as it should be to reflect Your love in me toward others. Your words, O Lord, are a guiding light for my soul, and I trust in You. May my speech be increasingly full of grace and seasoned with your love. By Your Spirit, help me to hold my tongue when there is nothing positive to say, and give me the courage to speak wisely to others. May my words be few, but my words of thanksgiving be unending! Amen.
(Oh, and if you're wondering about the other ‘rough edge’ I’ll save that story until another day!)