“Words — so innocent and powerless as they are, as standing in a dictionary;
how potent for good and evil they become in the hands of one who knows how to combine them.”
I’ve been thinking lately. About words.
The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak, is probably the main reason why.
Go watch the video in this link, then come back. I’ll wait.
Now we can get serious.
Words… so innocent and benign in their appearance, and yet… so potent.
It was through words that the universe was made.
It is largely with words that our ideas can be known, understood, and communicated. It is with words that the wisdom and folly of the ages is passed down from one generation to the next.
It is with words that the best books, poems, songs, and blog posts are written. (Need I add this is also true of the worst?)
Words are useful and versatile little creatures. They can be used for great good.
And sometimes, it seems, even greater evil…
It is with words that men curse one another and curse the One who gave and gives them breath. It is with words that hurtful rumors, vicious backtalk, and compliments of poison are exchanged. It is often with words that people — sometimes entire nations — are stirred up against one another in violence, hatred, and terror. Thus, it is often through words that thousands, if not millions, lose their lives, and suffer the cruelest injustices the world has ever known (remember the man only known to his people as the Führer ?). It is with words that lies are written and spoken. It is with words that the Father of Lies does his greatest, most glorious, work.
It is with words that the unspeakable can be known. It is with words that the greatest and deepest truths in the world are declared and defended. It is often with words that beauty is caught from the heavens and by some miracle, made visible to man for a glance. It is with words the broken and hurting are comforted. It is often with words that the proud are brought low, the haughty silenced, and the wicked exposed. It is with words that we are told how we must be saved, and how the saved must live.
It is with words that our names are writ in the Book of Life.
It is through the Word that salvation came to a broken, hurting, dying, blaspheming world, and it is that same Word that shall set all things aright.
That Living Word was God’s fullest revelation of Himself to mankind. Second only to that Living Word is His written Word, the Scriptures. God chose to reveal Himself through prophecies, through poetry, through proverbs, through historical writings, through various accounts, through letters — through words. Words matter to God.
It is with words that we will be acquitted, or condemned.
But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgement for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.
Words have very real power in this world, a power that will echo beyond these earthly bounds, into eternity.
I have no way of knowing exactly what will take place on the day of judgement. But I do know that I shall stand before the Throne, before unspeakable Beauty and Strength, with the Living Word at His right hand, and I will have to give an account for everything I have ever spoken… And when I am summoned to do so, I may well hear this:
“What did you do with the words I gave you?”
What will be my defense? How can I justify the lies and the half-truths, the vain flatteries and empty self-praises, the judgmental and self-righteous comments, and the thousands of other words that I have spoken and thought and made my dwelling upon in my years of existence? How shall I acquit myself?
What words will I use then?
Quite frankly, it doesn’t matter. I won’t have anything worth saying that could possibly acquit me of my crimes. All I will have is the Word Himself. My Lord and Savior, the One who gave me life. The Christ I pledged my life and allegiance to… with the simple, heartfelt words of a broken spirit.
Those will be the only words I will have, worthy to offer before the Throne of Judgement. My own will be insufficient.
I hope to have that answer ready. But in the meantime… what shall I do with the words I’ve been given? How shall I spend them? How shall I store them up?
I’ve only used 841 words in this post. Imagine how many I’ve spoken, written, or thought today alone. I’ll doubtless use at least as many tomorrow, if and when it comes.
How shall I use the words I’ve been given? How shall I steward them? How shall I give account for them?
How will you?