Words are wonderful, aren’t they?
We have two-year-old granddaughters that, as they near their third birthdays, are commanding vocabulary, phrases, ideas and the subtleties of language with amazing skill.
They know how to get attention and to get what they want,... And they know the power of words and of voice that they don’t like.
Yet sometimes, there is this space between us: “Can you say that again? I didn’t understand you.” This is followed by another attempt and maybe another, dismay, anger or brooding.
“I don’t know what you want, honey.” Silence and downcast eyes.
You don’t have to have a two-year-old to have experienced the wall between us. Words can be inadequate.
But words can serve another purpose.
Trying to express any opinion today can be weaponized.
New catch phrases, like virtue signaling, microaggression, social justice, intersectionality now demand that "public" speakers only stand within the framework of woke public circles - if not - everything else falls into the disposable philosophies of the past.
Thousand Foot Krutch raps out the lyrics to power chords in War of Change,
“If it’s true that words are weapons,... I’ve got ten in my pocket that will bend your locket…
Yosemite Sam would shout… “Thems fight’n words.”
You don’t have to be on opposite sides of the street in Portland to clash over ideas. We all have our own arsenals.
"Well whatever", someone might say, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”
Right - they won’t just hurt us - they will destroy us, our friendships, marriages, parenting, communities and country.
If these are not enough of a problem consider this…
The English language has about 1 million words. The average person has a reading vocabulary of about 70-100 thousand words that they recognize, a writing vocabulary of about 25-50 thousand words, and resort to speaking only 5,000-7,000 “unique” words everyday.
We have a settled vocabulary (less than one percent) that we use to express ourselves. If those words are limited to our most dominant feelings of hurt, anger, resentment, disappointment, confusion and rebuttal and the temperatures that go with those feelings escalate our dialogue - what’s our message to each other?
Here’s the twist: In and of ourselves there will be a wall and distance between us that - even despite our best intentions - and our worst moments, falls short, injures or destroys us.
But Jesus says this: “If you continue in my word, you really are my disciples. You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” [John 8:31-32]
And, “The Spirit is the One who gives life. The flesh doesn’t help at all. The words that I have spoken are spirit and are life.” [John 6:63]
Are our words speaking life? If not, maybe we need to add the Word of Life to our everyday vocabulary.
Watch this video: A New Vocabulary