Use Your Words

This is a popular refrain amongst parents: "Use Your Words." We are asking our children to do the thing that is most biologically distinctive about us: we're asking you to put your thoughts into creative expression. As creatures made in the image of God, we not only are capable of an abundant love of one another, we are made capable of expressing ourselves and those abstract emotions in words. God's Word is not negligent of this idea, but instead makes the subject of good speech of primary importance. The book of Proverbs speaks of speech more than anything else, marking the tongue as a weapon that can build up and destroy. 

There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts,
    but the tongue of the wise brings healing. Proverbs 12:18

Like any good thing, it can be used for ill. We can use words to propel children into a confident trust in their God and the potential to tackle the world, or we can make them feel that they are nothing, a hidden poison from which they will likely never recover. Our speech reflects our hearts, as those who have a massive capacity for hate and for flourishing:

But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. Matthew 15:18

Jesus' words are convicting. Our speech not only mirrors what we have truly in our hearts, but is also a muscle worth shaping towards the will of our Creator. It is alarming that in our national discourse words have been handled as if they don't matter. We have in our midst an "I'm just sayin'" attitude which seeks to eliminate personal responsibility and the truth that the Bible speaks to here: that our speech reflects our hearts. 

It's a reminder to Christians to seek pure speech (Eph. 4:25-5:2), but also that we see in others real heart orientations based on how they speak. Now, don't get me wrong, we humans are great at covering all sorts of things with false speech and flattery (Proverbs warns against flattery too), but ultimately, it doesn't hold, talk is a measure of one's character and it does have wide-ranging impact. 

Remember that when God made the Earth, in that great quiet of creativity there is also speech. It is decreed, and it is described. Then we humans, made in his image, with our dominion over the creation, are given words to describe it, restrain it, to make it flourish. Add beauty to the earth today: use your words.