Thursday, December 1

Advent 2011

Words Are Not Cheap


      The Greek word for "word" is logos.  John 1:1 uses this highly charged philosophical term to refer to Jesus the Christ as Son of God from the beginning of all things. So Jesus is the "Word" who speaks many special "words" in his own ministry.  Later, in this earthly ministry, he reminds his followers that all persons will give an account on Judgment Day for every "idle" or careless word that they might speak.  For, he says, "By your words you will be justified and by your words you will be condemned" (Matthew 12:36-37).  All of us speak millions of words in a lifetime, and the teenager on the cell phone runs beyond all of us!  Though we all know of "special moment" words such as marriage vows and "last" words, in the main we think that words are rather cheap, especially those of politicians and self-serving persons.  Too many folk say that it is what we do that matters and not what we say.  We all need to be reminded that words themselves are deeds.  They certainly are in the history of nations as well as in our daily lives.  Only a word, spoken thoughtlessly or in ignorance or anger, has changed relationships, sometimes irrevocably.

This faculty of speech, then, is squarely at the center of our relations with one another and with God.  God has never had anything to do with the undervaluation of words.  Jesus himself speaks moving words in the Sermon on the Mount which are too often forgotten.  Do we dare say of these words - Oh, he was "just talking"?  Indeed, God came to all of us in a life that takes on great meaning because of what he did and said.  Words are not cheap.  They served to bring the good news of God and we celebrate them.

Jesus did feel strongly about "idle" words, or those which are "careless" or "light."  These are the idle words that reveal character. They are windows into the soul.  What tremendous instruments - these streams of words that gush forth from all of us.  They give a person assurance of friendship and love or stab in the back like a knife.  They quell the fears of a child and comfort, or they cut a person to shreds. They tell the wonders of God and take Jesus' words seriously or they pass on a malicious lie or half-truth.  Talk is not cheap!  It reflects the kind of people we really are.  Let us during this Advent season have our own Advent of wisdom about the Godly use of words as John and Matthew describe this wisdom.

- George Shriver 

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