words are overrated

The very fact that I share this with words would seem to give the lie to this post. Yes, words have their place, and without question they are part of the whole, and an important part. But they are not the whole, although in a very true sense words can convey something of the whole. As Jesus said, “Out of the heart the mouth speaks.”

There is something else which needs to be present for our words to really matter. Jesus said that the first and greatest commandment is to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, strength and mind, and the second commandment like it is to love our neighbor as ourselves (or as one who is like ourselves). This love we are to live out through the God who is love, is tied to faith and hope through Jesus. This love and its exercise must be present for our words to have value.

While words are overrated, silence is underrated. It is often wiser to remain silent, than to attempt to say anything. We can think oftentimes that we need to come to the rescue with words, or provide correction. Job’s friends readily come to mind. When more often than not it would be wisest not to say anything. Just to be present as a friend.

We are told there is a time to be silent and a time to speak (yes, in that order, in Ecclesiastes 3). Of course wisdom is needed to know the difference, and hopefully wisdom from God for the specific occasion. A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver, the proverb says. But words have power through the person and the life that person lives. For the Christian the Spirit is involved in all of that.

And so words indeed do have their place, even of crucial importance, yes, a matter of life and death. In that sense words can’t be overrated. We may stammer now, even as we see through a glass darkly. But we need to seek to speak God’s wisdom to ourselves and to others. Prior to that, in order and sequence having a listening ear to God and to others. “Quick to listen, slow to speak.”

We do well to give words their proper place. Certainly making listening to God and others first in priority. And then perhaps offering a word if it might be helpful. Always looking to the Word himself, Jesus to communicate himself in whatever fellowship or conversation we may be having. Wanting God to have his say above all else. Together in Jesus for each other, for others, and for the world.