Wednesday, December 10, 2008

"Dear Diary..."

When I was nine years old, my mother gave me a special little leatherette book. It was burgundy and came with its own pen and, most significantly, a lock and key! I could write down all my secret thoughts--what I really thought about people and events, not just the polite reactions that were expected of me. I could write down wishes, dreams and prayers and, days or years later, go back and see which ones had been answered and which had not been. Usually the unfulfilled wishes were the best gifts since I didn't always display wisdom in my wishing.

Now I have a blog. I can write down my thoughts, air my grievances, and unabashedly post my opinions, opinions which may later make me blush when I'm smacked up against my ignorance or wrong-headedness -- sort of like realizing you've been walking around with your skirt caught up in the back or a big piece of spinach caught in your teeth. Not too impressive... I've always loved the prayer, "Lord, make my words tender and sweet for tomorrow I may have to eat them." Sound advice. A scriptural admonition comes to mind: "...let everyone be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God," James 1:19.

Nevertheless, that innate desire to communicate my thoughts in black and white continues, now expanded beyond the pages of an adolescent diary into cyberspace. But I'm no longer content just to write down my thoughts. I love to carry on conversations with folks, many I know and some I may never meet. I never believed Simon and Garfunkel when they sang, I am a rock; I am an island... I have no need of friendship for friendship causes pain: I touch no one and no one touches me. Instead, I think I'm more in tune with whoever sang, Words are all I have to give my heart away...

John describes Jesus as The Word made flesh Who 'manifested' or made plain the Father to a world that largely rejected Him and His message. God calls us His 'workmanship' or literally, His 'poem.' Our words as His redeemed people must be salt and light to a watching, listening, hurting world. In fact, Scripture even goes so far as to say that, 'by your words are you justified and by your words you are condemned.' A very mysterious passage to me but one that reminds us that we should choose our words carefully, even when we're playing around and having fun or mad or sad.

Before I speak, either audibly or in print, I must think: are my words sanctifying and edifying? Am I so marinated in Scripture that the more mature I become, the more my language begins to sound like the language of Heaven in opposition to the careless, graceless language of a condemned world? Is it easier for me to use coarse language than Biblical language? Ephesians 4:29 instructs me to "let no unwholesome words proceed from [my] mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, that it may give grace to those who hear." Are our words filling the need of the moment, bestowing grace on our listeners? These are important and serious markers for us to gauge our growth in grace and our usefulness as instruments of truth and peace so needed in the body life of Christ's beloved bride, the church.

Thanks for taking time to read my open 'diary.' I hope that in my words The Word will be honored and glorified and that you will take away a little encouragement, a little humor, some pathos and a lot of love. "Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer." --Psalm 19:14

Grace and peace be unto you...