I’ve always been in a love affair with words. Written words specifically. I love reading written words way more than watching movies. The written word gives me the right amount of space that I need to absorb and process. They don’t disappear in two scenes when I need to quickly flip back to see what who’s it was doing. They securely sit on the page, patiently waiting for my eyes to fall on them-how I love those beautiful glad words.
It’s a lovely life to sit and read over others’ words and without risk enjoy and take them in. But when it comes to my own, the pressure and the expectation of which words I chose in writing or conversation is mostly on the front end. What should I say? What shouldn’t I say? How will so and so understand what I’m saying with these words?
Which brings me to the main point here–and that is something I should be thinking about instead of all of what I actually do think about (the above)–that is the consequences of words. I made a mistake with written words about twenty years ago. In the safety of my home I penned a few lines about my best friends, short little character sketches of a group of girlfriends. Thinking that maybe my friends would be as interested in my writing, I brought my work to school. Some of the girls loved what I’d written. Others hated it. In any case, what I had written, while it was in private reflection, was shared in a reckless fashion and hurt these girls.
I hadn’t given a second of thought to the consequences of these words. I spent no time thinking about how my friends would respond to these simple paragraphs. Heedless and incautious, I strove to impress my eighth grade peers with my canon on junior high girls.
My reflection is more than on the written word though–it’s on words in general and our habit of recklessly flinging them around, in writing and in speech as well. So how can we work on this?
I’ve put a handout together adapted from the study Conversation Peace by Mary Kassian my LifeGroup is going through right now–feel free to read and think through for yourself!