It’s Just Words

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If you watched the presidential debates last night you may have witnessed a few odd things.

First, how awkward it is that they’re allowed to roam around the stage. As my grandma always said when I paced, SIT DOWN! You’re making me nervous!

Second, what was with the disposable cameras? I mean, it’s going to cost a hundred dollars to develop the film from just one of them. What is this? 1999?

Ahem.

Anyway, you might have also noticed the words, words, words, words of the debate. So many words. Threats and insults and accusations. They bopped from one to another.

All the words.

After a certain amount of time was spent on the 11 year old words of a certain candidate, said candidate asserted that “It’s just words”.

Hm. Interesting.

I pondered his comment, letting it settle into my mind.

It’s just words.

What’s the harm in words?

They don’t mean anything, these words.

They have no power.

It’s just words.

Now, not only is that the world’s worst poem, it’s also false. To say that words are impotent is to err. Words hold power, meaning, depth. They have the ability to speak life and death.

And the words on that tape? They’re ugly, terrifying, bad. And, just to be fair, words from the other candidate have been damaging as well. The words each has used have divided, manipulated, deceived.

What each have said in their lives have put a strangle hold on this country and even through the world.

It’s just words.

And words can and have changed the world. For good and bad.

This past weekend I was at Breathe, a Christian writer’s conference in Grand Rapids (I’m on the planning committee and love it deeply). If there’s one thing all those at the conference could agree upon it’s that words matter.

All weekend I tuned my ear to eavesdrop on the conversations around me. This is a sampling of what I heard:

“I think your writing is important, don’t quit.”

“I am SO GLAD I met you.”

“You’re doing a great job.”

“God is doing amazing things in your life.”

And on and on.

It’s just words.

But those words built up, inspired, encouraged. Those words served as a liturgy to weary writers who may have been discouraged and afraid. Those words worked as a balm to their souls.

It’s just words.

But those words weigh much more than we often recognize.

It’s just words.

So choose them well.

It’s just words.

Yeah, but words spoke the world into being. Raised the dead to life. Spoke forgiveness and grace and love.

It’s just words.

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10 thoughts on “It’s Just Words

  1. YES! I am an encourager – big time – and words are my “tool” that way. And just as I use them to build up, they can be used to tear down (and I do it sometimes myself, I’m ashamed to admit). This election season has made me want to stop up my ears. It’s so ugly.

    On that note, a writer friend of mine watched the debate last night with the sound off and shared her commentary on FB. Quite entertaining and interesting.

    And I’m a pacer too. Used to stretch out the phone cord beyond repair on a regular basis. Great post – great conference.

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  2. So many great truths here to ponder. It reminds me of the great old hymn, “Wondetful Words of Life!” Now you’ve inspired me to write about that! Breathe was another space of friendship, learning and community.

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  3. Amen and amen. Sticks and stones may break bones, but words destroy souls (check James 3:5-6–the tongue can be set on on fire by h*ll).

    AND God calls himself the Word (John 1:1)…pretty sure that means words are important 😉 Right now I’m taking refuge in the Word, praying for our country and our leaders.

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  4. This makes me think about a sermon Jeff Jones preached about the QUARK. Broken down to our smallest whatever are quarks. They are vibration. Sound. God spoke the world into existence. This used to be hard to believe until I learned about the quark. I can see clearly now.

    Liked by 1 person

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