My husband and I were talking recently about the tremendous power of words: spoken words, written words, words thought inside our heads. A word aptly spoken has tremendous power for good. A word mis-spoken – or misunderstood – has tremendous power for harm, even for evil.
Proverbs 10:19 tells us: “When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise.” That’s a sobering admonition for someone who writes, someone whose business it is to put many words out into the public discourse.
My hope is that my words will consistently bless…but, truth be told, they have on occasion wounded.
More than once, I have thought, “If there is any danger that my words may wound another, I should give up writing altogether.”
But I am a writer.
More than once, I have thought, “I will not write/speak another word! I will be silent!”
But I find myself crying with Jeremiah, “If I say, ‘I will not mention him, or speak any more in his name,’ there is in my heart as it were a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I am weary with holding it in, and I cannot” (Jeremiah 20:9).
I face a great dilemma: I feel a compulsion to not write, for fear of dishonoring God or injuring one of his children – but – I feel a greater compulsion to write, because that’s how God has knit me together.
What’s a writer to do?!
Here is where I stand –
God has gifted me and called me to write (indeed, He compels me to write), so I will write. But always, as a I write, I pray for God to cover, redeem, and sanctify my words.
Truly, I write with fear and trembling. Then, I trust God to accomplish his good purposes with my words, not because of my words, but despite my words.
When someone is encouraged by something I have written, I thank God. When someone is discouraged or wounded, I ask for forgiveness, and I pray that God will make me more attentive to his Spirit’s leading.
All that I do in this life – for good or for ill – ultimately, all that I do in this life, I must place in the hands of my Savior. Even my writing must be taken to the cross and there covered by the blood of Jesus.
So, again today, I will write the words that God gives me to write, and I will entreat my Savior to redeem and sanctify those words.
I can trust him.
Jesus – THE Word – He understands and He knows how to rightly handle the power of a word.