George Orwell says this regarding the English language: “It becomes ugly and inaccurate because our thoughts are foolish, but the slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts. The point is that the process is reversible.”
In with the new
The Bible says much regarding the speaking out of that which rests dormant and deep in our heart and mind. It all boils down to the same principle. Namely, that of thinking before you speak. And having a clear mind and heart from which the words you speak echo the heart and mind of God. It really is that simple.
“For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.” (Matthew 12:34) Jesus is saying that the words you speak, as well as the words you hear, are the tips of the icebergs (for good or ill), resident deep on our insides. Think before you speak. And love before you think.
Now, assuming you’re expressing truth and honesty and not just mouthing “idle words”, the boiled-down essence of a heart on fire for God will come through. No one knows, fully, the effect that our words have on the hearer. How many times have you listened in or heard an offhanded comment that speaks directly to something going on in your life that the speaker couldn’t possibly know you were going through? Has it ever? Jesus also said that we would “give account” for “every idle word” (Matthew 12:36) that we speak. Best to not say anything until we have something thoughtful and loving to express.
“Commit thy works to the Lord and thy thoughts shall be established.” (Proverbs 16:3)
I find that the outworkings of our actions originate from the state of our mind. If the above verse affects you in any way, take heart. There was a time in my life where I was so unsettled in my mind that I had trouble doing the slightest tasks without feeling and acting like a complete scatterbrain. I suppose the kernel of truth resident in what Solomon was saying took root in me. Because it wasn’t until I sought Jesus through my mental ineffectiveness that I really began to have a clear mind. Yes, depression and confusion clear up (their constituent chemicals balancing out). But unless you want to come out of those states with an intact and warm and soft heart, the only way to indeed have one’s “thoughts…established” is to commit, to hand over, one’s life to the Lord.
From this: “Thus saith the Lord that made thee, and formed thee from the womb…” (Isaiah 44:2)
To this: “Nay but, O man (and woman), who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?” (Romans 9:20)
Whether or not we assent to God as Creator, humility is indeed required to overcome any “foolishness” and “slovenliness” inherent in our mind. To admit that we don’t know it all and strive for more clarity and precision. I’d like to have my words resonate with the hearer and not just fall on deaf ears. Even if the person to whom I am speaking diametrically disagrees with me, the clarity of mind I’ve endeavored to carve out should come through. Help them make an informed decision or see things refracted in a different light. This is my prayer.
And maybe then we can get to work cleaning up the English language.
Out with the old