We all use them all of the time.
I wonder if we really take the time to think about what we'll say before we say it.
Words are very important tools for many of us.
In my career as a marketing professional, I use words in press releases and in training others and in print ads and in radio and television ad scripting on an almost daily basis. During the time I spend as a minister, I use words to teach, to exhort, to comfort, and to guide. As a writer, I type lots of words (at least 500) each week for this column.
Words can be wonderful things. They can have great value. They have the ability to build up and to help, to show love and befriend. But they can also hurt, mislead, and tear down. They have the ability to undermine what is good and right. They have the ability to utterly destroy. They can cut deeper than a blade and last longer than a bruise.
I think about the many, many words thrown around and the insults hurled back and forth in the "comments" sections of various news outlet websites and wonder if the writers realize the responsibility that comes with publicly speaking one's mind. Free speech is a right guaranteed under the Constitution, but we ought to be speaking something that matters, don't you think?
At times I wonder how many words I've wasted in this space over the past 13 years.
I think of the opportunities I've had to say something worthwhile, something meaningful, something helpful, something that might have brought a smile to someone's face or eased the burden of their day. Have I accomplished that even a fraction of the time?
I don't know.
I think about the times I've rambled on about things that may have seemed important at the time but ended up in the "so what?" pile on someone's floor, about how a certain subject might appeal to some but not to others, about how my distaste for this or that may enter into what I say on this page, about the responsibility I feel to hold high the banner of truth. Have I obtained that goal?
I just don't know.
I wonder how many words have gone unheard or unheeded from the pulpits where I've stood teaching or preaching. I wonder how many of my own thoughts entered into the words I've spoken on behalf of the God of the Universe. I wonder if, at times, my words may have gotten in the way of His words.
Michael Card wrote:
You and me we use,
so many clumsy words.
The noise of what we often say
is not worth being heard.
And that speaks volumes.