Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Your World is Framed by Your Words

I heard Steven Furtick say this in his most recent sermon from the book of James (on iTunes). I don't know about other people, but my voice and my words are VERY impressionable. And I am realizing that is something I need to guard against and watch out for. I'm so impressionable that even hanging around someone with a different accent than me for a couple hours and I start unconsciously beginning to use their accent. I watched a Sunday of Ice Road Truckers on the history channel and I was speaking perfect Canadian English to my wife that evening (without the expletives!). That isn't the real problem, although it points to just how impressionable I am with what I hear and then what I say.

I worked a job a while back with someone who got very angry all the time. Within a month or so, I began to become that way too - getting angry at little things, and angrier than I normally would. But I didn't notice it at first. Eventually after another month or so, it hit me - whoa, what am I doing? Why am I so mad? This isn't me. Or is it? No, it's not. I had picked up on the attitude and the way of reacting to things from hearing it over and over and being around it. It rubbed off on me.

In my current job, the trend is that as soon as there is a hint of something that could be problematic, people rush into worst case scenarios, and we CAN'T do this, we WON'T do that. Also, we get very argumentative in debates and go and go at each other trying to be proven more right. I don't know HOW many days I have been driving home from work, rethinking conversations I partook in during the day, and thinking - why did I say that? Why did I get swept up in that? Why can't I just keep my mouth shut and not participate? Something else I have found myself doing at work is participating in "joking around" about people. Translation - insulting behind their back. I don't like that I do it, just calling it what it is though. All these things are normal in my office. I shouldn't say normal - maybe frequently occurring is better.

And I regret my participation in these things often, but I am so impressionable that when those things are actually happening I rarely recognize it in the moment and pull myself back. I really want to work on this area of my life. Your life is framed by your words, like Pastor Furtick said. You either bring life with your words, or you bring destruction. You either lift up, or tear down. You either spread lies, or truth. You either respect, or disrespect. And very often what is heard in your voice is an outward expression of what's going on in your life. James reminds us how important it is to tame the tongue. In 3:5-6 he says, "Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of one's life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell."

Master Po said, "The greatest warrior is the one who has conquered himself." I want to be a great warrior, so to speak. I want to be a great influence on those around me. In order to do that, I HAVE to get control over myself and what I say, or don't say. I want to choose to only speak when my words will bring life and wisdom into a situation, not destruction and lies and rash, desperate thoughts.

I have tried having my headphones on more often, but I think this is the wrong tactic. It only avoids the conversational realm. I must be in it in order to master it. How well are you in control of your tongue? If your world is framed by your words, what type of world are you building around you?

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