May I Have A Word With You?

The Latest Word from John Ed Mathison

Words are the vehicles we use to communicate. Good use of our words makes us better communicators. The number of words used is not as important as what those words indicate. One of the uses of words to communicate that has become quite popular is Twitter. Initially only 140 characters were allowed to form the words to communicate. They now have doubled the amount of allowable characters to 280. Many Twitter enthusiasts like it, others don’t like it. The number of words is ultimately unimportant.

Some of the most impactful communicators have not used many words. The Lord ’s Prayer has 56 words. Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address was only 268 words. Our whole country got its start on 1,322 words in the Declaration of Independence. Conversely, the Federal Government used 26,911 words to ensure regulation on the sale of cabbage. It’s not the number of words – it’s what the words communicate.

Sometimes we talk about “big words”. Some speakers and teachers like to use “big words”. However, some of the greatest pieces of literature only use words with a few syllables. The 23rd Psalm contains few words with more than two syllables. The same is true of the Beatitudes in Matthew 5 and the great love chapter, I Corinthians 13.

The uses of many of our words in English are mindboggling. Are, came, gape and lien are one-syllable words; but add one letter each and they become three syllables; area, cameo, agape, and alien. Rugged is two syllables, but add a couple of letters – shrugged – it becomes one syllable. The longest word with non-duplicated letters is uncopyrightable.

Some words can carry a lot of influence. Lilly Katz from wrote, “If you add block chain, investors seem to be eager to throw money at any cryptocurrency firm, especially those specializing in the blockchain, the company that underpins Bitcoin.”
Nasdaq threatened to delist an unprofitable New York based ice tea company on December 21, 2017. The Long Island Ice Tea Company became the Long Blockchain Corp. and overnight its market cap nearly tripled to $70 million. In October Colorado biotech company, Bioptix, became Riot Blockchain and instantly saw its valuation double. On-Line PLC, a UK provider of stock market data, rebranded itself as On-Line Blockchain PLC, and saw its shares leap 400%.

Words can get you in trouble. Last year a British professor named Matthew Goodwin was certain he knew how the Brexit vote would come out. He made a promise to eat pages of his Pro Brexit Book live on TV if he got the UK election results wrong. He got it wrong – his words got him into trouble. He said, “It’s a hardback book, so there are a lot of chemicals,” as he chewed the pages.

Remember – Be careful with the words you say…Keep them soft and sweet…You’ll never know from day to day…which ones you’ll have to eat.

God’s Word clearly tells us the importance of using our words carefully.
“Death and life are in the power of the tongue.” (Proverbs 18:21)

“Let the words of my mouth…be acceptable in your sight, O LORD.” (Psalm 19:14)

“I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak.” (Matthew 12:36)

“A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare.” (Proverbs 15:1)

What’s your word for today?


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