Preached by Rev. Ed Brouwer at The Gathering Place, Osoyoos
Pulpit Series Volume 22, Issue 8     March 18, 2012

I want to start by asking some thought provoking questions. 
  • Why is it that doctors call what they do “a practice”? 
  • Why is it that the man who invests all your money is called “a broker”? 
  • Why is the time with the slowest traffic called “rush hour”? 
  • Why is the word “abbreviation” so long?
  • Why do we “drive on parkways” and “park on driveways”
Language is a great gift from God that sets us apart from every other creature.  But sometimes our words are misunderstood or mistranslated.

For example, I found some commercial slogans that when translated into other languages didn’t translate the same:
  • Kentucky Fried Chicken, “finger-lickin’ good”.  In Chinese it came out as “eat your fingers off”.
  • The Pepsi slogan “Come alive with the Pepsi Generation” came out in Taiwan as “Pepsi will bring your ancestors back from the dead”.
  • When General Motors introduced the Chevy Nova in South America, they were unaware that “no va” means “it won’t go”.  They didn’t sell many cars in South America.
  • Coors “Turn It Loose” slogan was mistranslated into Spanish as “Drink Coors and get diarrhea”.
The words we use to communicate can be very powerful, so we need to be very careful how we use them.

Words can:
  • make us happy or sad
  • make us angry or fill us with joy
  • make us laugh or cry
  • heal or they can hurt
Words are an important part of life.

Parents may say to their children: “Choose your words carefully because you may have to eat them.”  Or they may warn their children not to use any “four-letter words”.

Proverbs 18:21  “The tongue has the power of life and death.”

Proverbs 15:4  “A wholesome tongue is a tree of life.”

Proverbs 16:24  “Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.”

We always tried to support our kids when they played sports.  Judi was better at it than I was.  I was shocked at times, to hear a parent yell out at his/her kids, “Get your head in the game. What were you thinking? Come on you can do better than that.”

The kid just feels embarrassed.  Even if he does try harder, he still hears that voice of condemnation.

I love to hear the parents cheering on their kids.  They say things like, “You can do it. Way to go! Good hustle …..good job! I’m so proud of you.”  When the kids hear their parents cheering them on, it motivates them to try as hard as they can.  It gives them courage, confidence and motivation.

Proverbs 25:11  “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.”

We should always look for opportunities
to encourage our kids every day.

So, I’d like to share with you three ways in which we speak:

Unfortunately, the words we use don’t always have the effect we want.  Sometimes words meant to spur people on toward action, fall on deaf ears.

Sometimes we don’t know what words to use, and we choose ones that end up doing more harm than good.

And sometimes the words we speak have very little meaning at all.

Many of our polite greetings like:
  • “Good to see you”
  • “Let’s get together sometime”
  • “How are you”
  • “Have a nice day”
are gracefully disguised ways of saying:
  • “Keep your distance, I’m just being polite.”
Ephesians 5:6  “Let no man deceive you with vain words.”

God’s word may not always tell me what I want to hear but it always tells me what I need to hear.

We often speak polite words, but shallow words.  When we ask how people are, we are just being kind.   Most of us don’t expect a real significant answer.

If we truly want to be more than just acquaintances, more involved in people’s lives, then we must go beyond surface level communication.

But sadly we are more comfortable with shallow words (surface level communication) because we don’t want to reveal too much about ourselves.  Perhaps we fear rejection or condemnation or maybe it’s because we don’t want to get to know too much about another person.

Words can both tear down and build up.

Proverbs 21:23  “Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps his soul from troubles.”

We need to learn to harness the power of the tongue.  A sharp knife, in the hands of a surgeon can heal, but in the hands of a careless child can be harmful.

Proverbs 18:21  “The tongue has the power of life and death.”

James 3:8  “The tongue is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.”

Our words can crush a person’s spirit, and they can leave people feeling hurt and hopeless.

Whoever said, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” didn’t have a clue what they were talking about.

It’s likely that each one of you has been hurt because of something that has been said to you.

It’s also likely that each one of you has said something that hurt someone else.

Usually we don’t mean to hurt people.  The words just “pop up” without planning.  We speak before we think and sometimes our words do great damage.

We often forget the hurtful words we spoke, but we rarely ever forget those death words that were spoken to us.

They have a way of lingering in our lives and they can cause emotional distress, bitterness and resentment.

Sometimes the death words we speak were meant to be a joke.  They were meant to be humorous, but those we joke with didn’t see it that way. I have a tendency to joke with those I’m close to and my jesting at times has done damage to some relationships.

Words can soothe!  More importantly they can inspire, encourage and give life.

Proverbs 15:4  “A wholesome tongue is a tree of life.”

Ephesians 4:29 Paul instructs us to, “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.”

We are in the race and we need encouragement.
We need to hear words that inspire, encourage and give life.

Hebrews 10:24-25  “And let us consider one another to provoke to love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as you see the day approaching.”

Psalm 19:14  “Let the words of my mouth, And the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.”

No comments: