Words of Worth

Who says that to someone?

September 9, 2013

Ephesians 4.29Our words carry enormous weight and have the power to shape or misshape someone’s reality for years. That’s not a new concept to anyone, I’m sure, but it is something that I was reminded of again after seeing the movie, “The Way, Way Back”.

In the first three minutes of the movie, we learn that introverted, 14 year old Duncan, who is riding in the way, way back of a station wagon, is going on summer vacation with his mother, her overbearing boyfriend, Trent and his daughter. Trent yells to the back of the station wagon and asks Duncan to rate himself on a scale of 1-1o. Hesitant to answer the question at first, the boyfriend forces the teenager to “just pick a number.” Finally Duncan said, “Okay! 6! I’m a 6!” to which Trent said, “A 6? You’re not a 6. You’re a 3!” In that instant I felt a surge of anger and turned to my friend and whispered, “Who says that to someone?”

Later in the movie, Duncan finds an unexpected friend in Owen, the manager of the Water Wizz water park, and eventually opens up to him. After Duncan tells Owen that Trent rated him a 3, Duncan, himself, ponders with Owen, “Who says that to someone?” Our words carry enormous weight and have the power to shape or misshape someone’s reality for years. How easy it is at times to be careless in what we say to someone, and in those moments, diminish the worth of another.

Reckless words pierce like a sword…
Proverbs 12:18a

It was good for me to feel the pain of Trent’s words to Duncan so that I could be reminded of the enormous weight of my words. And it was good for me to reread for the Ephesians 4:29:

Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.”

Unwholesome speech literally means, “rotten”, and according to this verse, rotten words should not come out of our mouths. The only kinds of words that should be spoken are ones that edify (build up), are timely (meet the need of the moment), and offer grace to those within ear shot of our speech.

If we fail to use wholesome speech with others, then we may fail to see others as edifices, or as living temples, which we are meant to build up. If we fail to use words in a timely manner, by both knowing what to say and what NOT to leave unsaid, then we may fail to encourage someone in a moment of need. If we fail to offer grace to those who are receiving our words, then we may fail to offer goodwill and loving-kindness to another.

At the end of the summer, that Duncan will most likely never forget, Owen, the water park manager, meets Trent, the overbearing boyfriend, for the first time and introduces himself as, “Hi, I’m Owen, friend of the 3.” My anger of the first three minutes of the movie became a cheer in the last three minutes of the film.
Our words carry enormous weight and may shape or misshape the reality of another for decades! (Sheryl)

but the tongue of the wise brings healing.
Proverbs 12:18

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