“Lindy talks too much.” It was on every report card I ever received until  around middle school or high school when teachers stopped writing comments. I have always liked to talk and be part of the crowd, not wanting to miss anything. These “strengths” did not find me contemplating the big questions of the universe because I didn’t want to miss out on the fun of the moment. Most of the time, my talking was pretty clean and even encouraging. My Mom’s favorite mantra was, “If you cannot say anything nice, then don’t say anything at all.” This made for winning friends and even popularity contests, but also for stuffing my thoughts and words. In the last months I have thought a lot about words and how they can be used in different ways: encouraging; discouraging; painful; building; destroying; loving; hurtful; simply of no use.

For many years I thought most problems and connections could be solved by using words.  I don’t discount this, but as a believer in Jesus He is showing me something new. In the past I felt that if I used enough words then I could at least come to an understanding of heart and mind. As those who love Jesus we want His kingdom work to go forth without any problems from our own sin – especially our words. Words can be good; but, can also be bad. A book, “Let Go”, by Francois Fenelon was given to me by a friend this past fall. Fenelon descended from a long line of French nobility in the 17th century and devoted his life to Christ and became a spiritual advisor to the men and women in the Court of Louis XIV. Many of his spiritual letters were collected in this book. One of the letters I have read again and again. Fenelon writes:

The continual death of self is a blessed life known to few. A single word uttered from this rest will do more – even in outward affairs – than all of our most eager and attentive care. It is the Spirit of God that speaks the word. It loses none of its force and authority, but enlightens, persuades, moves and edifies. We have accomplished everything, and yet we have barely said anything.
In contrast, if left to the excitability of our natural temperament, we talk forever. We indulge in a thousand subtle and superfluous reflections. We are constantly afraid of not saying or doing enough. We get angry, excited, exhausted, distracted, and finally make no headway.
Let the water flow beneath the bridge. Let humans be human – that is to say, weak, vain, fickle, unjust, false and presumptuous. Let the world still be the world. You cannot prevent it. Let everyone follow his own inclinations and habits. You cannot recast them. The best course is to let them be as they are and to bear with them. Do not think it strange when you witness unreasonableness and injustice. Rest in peace in the huge bosom of God. He sees it all more clearly than you do, and yet He permits it. Be content to do quietly and gently what it becomes you to do, and let everything else be to you as though it were not.”


As I walk in the Spirit of Christ I want to have that single word from Him as I put my many words into His hands. It is not stuffing my words but putting them in a place where He can use them for encouragement, healing, building, loving and being helpful. The first time I ever shared my Christ story to a group of people I was a junior at the University of Florida. The venue was a high school in Leesburg, Florida. Remember this was the 70’s and we could still do this kind of thing. The verse that I used to close my time was:

Psalm 19:14, “May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.” (NIV)  The Message translation states, “These are the words in my mouth; these are what I chew on and pray. Accept them when I place them on the morning altar, O God, my Altar-Rock, God, Priest-of-My-Altar.”

Today, as I put my words on the altar, maybe The Lord will have a different comment to write than all my grade school teachers did years ago.


3 thoughts on “Words

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