Ephesians 4:25-32 (The Message)
What this adds up to, then, is this: no more lies, no more pretense. Tell your neighbor the truth. In Christ’s body we’re all connected to each other, after all. When you lie to others, you end up lying to yourself. Go ahead and be angry. You do well to be angry—but don’t use your anger as fuel for revenge. And don’t stay angry. Don’t go to bed angry. Don’t give the Devil that kind of foothold in your life. Did you use to make ends meet by stealing? Well, no more! Get an honest job so that you can help others who can’t work. Watch the way you talk. Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth. Say only what helps, each word a gift. Don’t grieve God. Don’t break his heart. His Holy Spirit, moving and breathing in you, is the most intimate part of your life, making you fit for himself. Don’t take such a gift for granted. Make a clean break with all cutting, backbiting, profane talk. Be gentle with one another, sensitive. Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you.
As I read the passage for today something strikes me. “Say only what helps, each word is a gift.” For some reason I really zoomed into that phrase and then zoomed out to the context. Each word is a gift. Our words are gifts to one another. Now that changes how we use language, doesn’t it? How often, while chatting, do we just throw around words?
Then I flashed back to a podcast that has made an impression. At this point, I have to tell you about this podcast that has changed my life. Paul Adams recommended it to me and it really has changed my life! This podcast is called Radiolab…you can download it off of the website www.radiolab.org or on your itunes. I happen to listen to radiolab while I work out or drive longish distances. I love it! Radiolab is a mix of science, technology and story. If you like “This American Life,” Radiolab will also change your life. The information is amazing and interesting! So I read this scripture and I flashback to a podcast about words. It’s entitled, “Words.” Here is the link if you are interested…
In this particular podcast, a woman meets a man in a class that has not had access to words for his entire 27 year old life! Susan had been hit by a truck when she was 17 and the concussion left her unable to read so she had to go to a special school. The teacher was signing and taught sign but she looks over and sees another student who has no idea what is going on in the world around him. She decides to befriend him. Of course, this is difficult in the beginning because there is absolutely no language between the two. He had not learned any sort of language. Can you imagine what a lonely world that would be and how hard it would be to not know that anything….is??
So Susan decides to try to teach him some language. Of course it takes forever…it started with him repeating everything she would say and then gradually, after much work, she gets him to realize that an object has a name! It changes EVERYTHING! Now, everything has a name! That opens up the world to this man. She talks about when this happens all of a sudden he looks around like he is from Mars and new here. The world changes right in front of their eyes for him. It was the first time he had seen anything.
Now, this story is much longer and much more detailed and super fascinating. Because words have meaning and open up new worlds and words are gifts….as we are told in scripture but also as we learn in life.
How will we be intentional with those words? How will we use the gift of words? What will we do today that will change the world with our words?