I have a theory. It might be a controversial one but it’s a theory nonetheless. We’ve had some pretty big elections of late and certain people came to positions of power, making someone or other mad about it. How on earth did they get up there? How can people believe their lies? #notmypresident and so on and so forth. No matter where you sit, I have a theory that these people got there because of their words. Sure, maybe every word into a microphone was illusions and dreams, but their smooth talking made an impact on people. In a world where we often scan and scroll and skim over the words that bombard us daily, it’s easy to pass over what’s really being offered. He smiled and looked professional. She said that thing and this other thing. And because of this buzzword or that catchy phrase, they were elected. Nevermind what the person really stood for.
Come to find out, this isn’t as new a thing as I thought. Recently my husband and I watched a period drama called The Way We Live Now. (Great show if you’re looking for a watch!) Over the course of six episodes, a particular character talks his way into fame, into society, into wealth… all with just words. At one particular meeting, in response to a real concern, he gets all big and grand and answers with “increase!”…“profit!”…“money!” And everyone at the table claps the house down even though he didn’t really answer the question. I guess this manipulation of words has been going on longer than I thought.
On the flip side, words are one reason why Jesus was so unpopular. He spoke truth and life and freedom, no matter how much the crowd booed and guffawed. He cared more about the hearts of the listeners and less about their feelings. And when one word from Him could have changed the way we live as Christians, he didn’t speak at all.
In my 26 and a half years, I’ve learned a good deal about words. I can manipulate them to evoke a particular reaction that I wanted. But I hope that God will continue to prompt me to use these little words for His good purposes. I want to have less fear for what people think of me. I want to speak truth and life and freedom to people, like Jesus did. I need to know when words are needed and when they aren’t. Because really, He’s what I stand for and if my words aren’t reflecting that, I’m no better than any politician.
Image via Wiberfuchs