Your Words Matter
Sometimes when people take umbrage over the ways that words are often used to marginalize, dismiss or gloss over the voice, ideas or even the true humanity of others, there are those who collectively roll their eyes, and chalk up such notions as simply hypersensitivity to politically incorrect speech.
And truth be told... I've been one of those people. I've rolled my eyes when someone parsed my words and took offense to something I said or wrote. I've even ranted about it.
"I never wore a seatbelt growing up," I'd say. "And I never wore a bicycle helmet, either. I also didn't get a trophy just for participating on the Little League team. People just need to grow a thicker skin."
But our words matter. It's a pesky truism that can't be shaken or diminished no matter how uncomfortable it makes us or how inconvenient it is for us to confront.
The great British theologian G.K. Chesterton once wrote:
Why shouldn't we quarrel about a word? What is the good of words if they aren't important enough to quarrel over? Why do we choose one word more than another if there isn't any difference between them?Our words matter. Which is why we should pay close attention to how we use them.
Our choice of words can mean the difference between healing and wounding, between love and indifference... between life and death.
And here's something else... Our lack of words matters, too. Sometimes what we don't say can have an even more profound effect on others than what we do. There are times to speak for sure, but there are also times to be silent.
But sometimes our silence can be wounding. We need to use our words to speak life and hope into the world around us, to not withhold the blessings of words that are good, true and beautiful.
And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.