Thursday, September 21, 2006

Be Careful with Words



"The beautiful part of writing is that you don't have to get it right the first time, unlike, say, a brain surgeon." -- Robert Cromier


This is true, to an extent. However, with blogging, the temptation to write something quickly, without too much thought or research, and then push a button, is strong. Yes, I can delete or correct or edit hastily published words, but that doesn't erase them. Someone has likely already read them, thought about them, and perhaps even acted on them. If we are writing about matters of faith, we should be careful. If I feel like I want to vent, I should be careful. The venting might make me feel better, but how does it reflect upon me as a child of God? Saltwater stings.
James 1: 9 -11 With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God's likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring?

James 1:1 Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.

No, it's not brain surgery, but words matter, whether they are words shared over a cup of coffee with a friend, around your dinner table at home, or as the written word. So, as bloggers, specifically dealing with matters of faith, we are teachers if we are publishing that kind of information. Where else does the teacher label apply? Are you a parent? Do you interact with children--nieces and nephews, boy or girl scouts, students in a classroom? Indeed, then you are a teacher, and perhaps even a role model. I honestly do not think that we know the full effect of what may be casual words, as I posted here recently.

In 7th grade, I had an English teacher, Ms. Voitle. One of the things that she warned us about was becoming comma happy in our writing. Each time I write a long sentence, as I often do, I wonder if a comma is really warranted. Her voice still rings in my head. What if the words which I carried with me were different? What if she had been careless with her words and advice, perhaps chastising me for being a horrible writer with no potential to do anything?

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Update on last week: No sooner than I had published the post last week about the Poison Tongue, I yelled at Amanda, with a mean tone. Now maybe she deserved correction (for going out on the wet deck in her socks, before school), but she didn't deserve to be yelled at. It's something I struggle with--correcting lovingly. I also noticed a couple of times using a tone a bit too harsh for my toddler as well. I am generally more forgiving of him (having fewer expectations than for an 8 year old), but I need to watch that harsh tone creeping in. I think that I could have devoted more prayer to the subject, and so mid-week, I began memorizing the verse so that I would be medidating on it throughout the day and it would be in my head and heart (and hopefully as a blockade in my throat).

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Have you thought about how you are using your tongue this week? Do your words or your tongue poison those around you? Are you careful with your words, or do you frequently share without thinking of who it might hurt, or how it reflects upon the state of your heart? Do you intentionally try to guide or teach others, and if so, are you careful with those words? Is cursing a problem for you?

7 comments:

lrlwreath said...

Isn't that how Satan works, as soon as you say you are going to work on something, he places that temptation right in front of your eyes.

I know I have been guilty of posting a comment to fast (hence my misspellings), and I have tried to catch myself and try to have as much thought in my comments as I do in my posts.

Great post Jennifer

Dianne said...

Good thoughts. i think LaurelWreath hit the nail on the head. The other extreme for me is so not wanting to say anything wrong to anybody that I bottle it all up and then either slip with a really hurtful comment or dump on someone.

rob@blogoftheday.org said...

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Tiffany said...

Thanks for visiting my site. It always nice to meet new friends. I love your blog and all that you have to say.
Words are so powerful. Though much like dianne, I have a tendency to bottle it all up or worse just blow up in anger. Thanks for writing about this. It will make me think twice about my words.

Bookworm said...

Oh Jennifer I too struggle with the "poison" with my own 9 year old daughter. I too will memorize this verse. Thank you for that. Laura

Katrina said...

Great post, Jennifer. I just read this in The Greatest Place on Earth: "When words are spoken, they're always real. Words are never blanks. They're actual bullets, and their impact is absolute. Every time." I have found that pretty much any time I "need to vent," what I really need to do is pray. And that, as a mom, the words I speak leave marks. For good and bad. Kids are resilient but they are not immune to what we say.

Susanne said...

I love the quote that started this off!

This is such a good series, Jennifer! The Lord has really been dealing with me about this too! I find it so much easier in blogging to be careful, it's in "real" life that I let things out too quickly without putting them thru the filter of the love of Christ!