Teaching calls upon me to choose my words carefully, to consider the wide audience that I address, their past experiences, their beliefs, their values, their hurts as well as their hopes. I’ve learned the power of words as I’ve been the victim of harsh ones spoken so many times and also have had the gift of comfort from being the recipient of words spoken in great love and unwavering truth.
I am grappling this morning to find the words to convey what is stirring within, to do no harm and to unravel this complicated relationship we have to words.
We learn by being taught, by experience, by grasping the deep meanings of words. I love the scripture that tells us “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1:1) There is more profound truth contained in this one verse than what my mind can fully know, yet I recognize the great and awesome power of Words and Truth and that God Himself is the embodiment of these perfectly joined together.
I have so many times used words wrongfully, to tear down instead of building up. I have lived to regret each and every failure in my use of words. I had to realize my errors and then honestly ask myself what had been my motives, face that truth and repent in anguished tears in order to find my way to peace. The result…brokenness first and then much-needed humility.
I was helped and continue to be by the wisdom found in Proverbs. “Whoso loveth instruction loveth knowledge: but he that hateth reproof is brutish.” (12:1) “A scorner loveth not one that reproveth him: neither will he go unto the wise.”(15:12) I learned that I had to care more about what is right than about my own feelings, that growth and learning is often painful but necessary. This is one of the most important lessons a person will ever learn. Because of my prideful nature, I am forever having to revisit this within my heart during times of prayer asking again and again for the Lord to make my heart righteous and my mind pure because I am not naturally inclined so to be!
When I pray for wisdom, as I often do, I am asking God to teach me, knowing full-well there will be pain in the learning. In order to learn, we must change. We cannot grow without recognizing the error of current thinking and/or behaving and having the willingness to make necessary adjustments.
I, as a teacher, have to forever account for all that I do not know. I have to walk humbly before others knowing that I and they have much to learn. I enter every classroom door realizing that each person there has something to teach me and hoping I, too, have something meaningful to add to their learning.
To some extent I see every adult person as both a teacher and a student. Whether teaching as a profession or simply living our lives before others, we are communicating lessons for others to emulate. We, too, are being influenced by those with whom we engage, that we listen to and watch. None of us are without influence and every communication matters.
Scripture has much to say to each of us about the power of our words. As followers of Christ, we are commanded to speak truth in love, and we are told what not to say as well…”let no unwholesome communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying that it may minister grace unto the hearers.” (Ephesians 4:29)
I often think of the love and freedom that we have in the Spirit of Christ when we are joined together in oneness knowing that in Him alone do we find righteousness; when we do not think too highly of ourselves but walk in humility doing the will of God according to His Spirit that works in us. This is rare and precious and to be honored and protected.
I often think of the times men have stood before me and proclaimed the truth of the scriptures and tears began to fall from my eyes as I was called to repentance. Sin was revealed in light of the truth so that I could confess to the Lord and be cleansed. I thank God for those who speak truth in love, who walk according to the principles laid out for us to honor with our whole hearts. “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidingss of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!” (Isaiah 52:7)
I trace everything back to God’s Word, His Words for us, as I set my course for each day. I find my strength in Him, my hope, my encouragement, and my peace. I pray so often when my heart is troubled that He, in a power all His own, will settle the ares of my concern. I can rest knowing he hears me when I pray and that His answers are always right.
Blessings to all,