How good are your communication skills? Are you able to find the perfect words to articulate your question or statement? When you are angry or frustrated, do you fall back on language that is either inflammatory or perhaps profane? Conversely, what motivates you to speak in a manner that promotes peace and beckons understanding?
I love words. I am humored by the examples in the dictionary of word contradictions. For instance, there is the fact that “love” in the language of tennis means “nothing.” In the world of texting and tweeting, word choice is critical. The reader has to “get” your meaning without the benefits of sight and sound. Proofread before you send!
I also love movies. I am fortunate that my husband does too, so most Friday nights you can find us munching popcorn and anticipating the thrill of a good story set in motion by a director and talented artists. You can probably guess where this is going … the inexplicable use of profanity that dots some movies and peppers others is becoming all too common. We came out of a movie tonight, enriched by the joy of the story and yet, disappointed and frustrated by the language. I can only surmise that the writer/director felt the story would have been mundane without the “colorful language” or that the rating required the profanity to attract the largest audience. They were regrettably mistaken. Great actors and great stories don’t need profanity to weave their tale in a way that connects with the audience.
Our plight is described in James 3:8–10 (NLT). “But no one can tame the tongue. It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison. Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God. And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right!”
How, then, are we to control our tongue? We must replace our prideful desire to “have the last and loudest word” with God’s desire to have us speak His Word. Ephesians 4:29 (NASB) says “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, that it may give grace to those who hear.”
We must seek God’s wisdom and His ways, as stated in James 3:13, 17–18 (NLT). “If you are wise and understand God’s ways, prove it by living an honorable life, doing good works with the humility that comes from wisdom. But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere. And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness.” Remember, your speech and sometimes your silence can be the very tools needed to reflect the wisdom of God.