I said the D word yesterday. 

I don’t mean Dang, or Drat, or even Darn.

I mean the real D word.

In my defense, the Packers had just lost a 18 point lead over the Cowboys with 30 seconds left to play in the game and Aaron Rodgers was running the ball to avoid being intercepted.

So I said the D word.

And as fate would have it, my nephew Ben chose that particular moment to walk upstairs with his 2 buddies from youth group and watch the last 30 seconds of the game. Mortified, he looked at me and said one word: “Lina!”

My first instinct was to chide him for allowing two strangers into my sister’s house on game day.

My second instinct was to blame the folks I work with in the ER for sullying my brain.

My third instinct was to worry about the future of my nephew and his youth group mates.

Would they ever survive the disappointment of a Bible teacher saying the D word – as justifiable as it seemed to be in that particular moment.

Half of you reading this blog are rolling your eyes over the juvenile nature of my stress. We have bigger fish to fry this week, after all.

A new president – a controversial new president mind you – is about to rule the world as we know it.

The Russians are to blame for the demise of our country.

The Syrian refugee crisis is ongoing and Assad is being touted as the Savior of the Middle East.

The economy is bad. Health care is a bust. Social media is agonizing.

And here I am worried about using the D word in front of the next generation.

The other half of you is just as mortified as my nephew was. You’re about to ship back every Bible study you’ve ever bought from me and donate my books to the Salvation Army. Scratch that, you wouldn’t sully the Salvation Army bin with a cussing Bible teacher. You’ll have to drop the books off at your local Good Will instead.

Alas, meet Lina AbuJamra, aka broken Bible study teacher in desperate need of grace.

The reality is that I was wrong.

I used the D word and I was wrong.

My nephew will survive it. His youth group buddies’ faith will survive. Even you will survive it.

Yet…

In a world where there are bigger fish to fry, our words do matter.

They build up or they tear down.

They lift up or they destroy.

They reflect light or they hinder it from shining.

The wisest man in the world came to this conclusion: “Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit – you choose” Proverbs 18:21

James the brother of Jesus also understood the power of the tongue: “So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire!” James 3:5.

And who of us doesn’t get it?

Who of us  hasn’t felt the sorrow of a word quickly spoken?

Who hasn’t agonized over words we wished we could take back?

Who hasn’t wondered…if only I had chosen my words more carefully?

Even when the Packers really were to blame for such words?

So today, don’t be too shocked if someone you respect accidentally uses the D word.

And don’t be too rash in jumping to conclusions or in pointing fingers.

Instead, let’s pray with the Psalmist: “Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips!” Psalm 141:3.

Let us be light this day, this week, this year, 

starting with our words.

Hey have you had a chance to listen to my most recent  difficult conversation podcast about the Church and the LGBTQ community? You can listen here and send me any questions to lina@livingwithpower.org:

podcast-lgbtq

11 thoughts on “Ever thought about the power of your words?

  1. Dunno bud. I confess. I’m trying to eliminate my use of f bombs and other profanity. I’m going to hang on to my copy of Resolved, for now.

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  2. One of the most powerful testimonies I have heard involved a lifetime naval officer, Dr. J.K. Minton, who shared how the Lord cleaned up his salty language. (I understand you’re sharing a 1 word slip, not a lifelong habit.) He’s been a pastor and director of missions in the Southern Baptist church for many years since that time. We all struggle with occasional sins that can become habits that can eventually become strongholds. Seeing our “sin” for what it is helps us recognize that it must be rejected. When we call out for the HS to help us prevent its future occurrence, He will. You pray for me to use self-control in my eating. I’ll pray for God to help you eliminate the salty speech, OK? By the way…when you come in March to speak, keep in mind that we like our speakers to keep it G rated, so don’t say, “That’s the best d*** barbeque I’ve ever tasted!” ok?

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  3. My struggle isn’t so much with the words I shouldn’t say, but saying the words that speak life, encouragement,
    hope into someone else. Don’t know why it feels awkward and forced, sometimes the hardest to say to those closest to me.

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  4. OHHH! complaining about the use of a “d” word to an old New Yorker is almost laughable. When I read it, I thought: “THAT is nothing compared to what used to come out of MY mouth!” But…I guess it’s all relative and the most important thing is that we’re all now AWARE of when a bomb slips out…it means we’re being convicted by the Holy Spirit. I also shiver when I hear it come out of someone else…even on TV (which, then immediately gets the channel changed!) Thankfully, I haven’t let one slip out in a long long time, so there’s hope for the rest of you youngsters out there!

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  5. Was great to see you again, hear your message at The Womens Breakfast, Harvest Bible Chapel Oakville.
    Yes, we all must choose wisely what words we use. Thankfully we serve a forgiving God. Amen!
    Your in our prayers Lina, God Bless you

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  6. Words…once they are out we cannot take them back. It’s sort of like trying to put the peel back on a piece of fruit. Nope. Thankful every day for God’s multiple doses of grace. The very fact that we even realize our slips and want to make them right shows the Spirit working in us.

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  7. Hmmm, guess that makes you human like the rest of us!
    And yes, the Packers have a way of doing that!
    I act badly when driving. I am usually in a hurry and I get so angry that I always get behind a slow driver! What’s up with that? Makes me feel totally justified in having road rage! I scream, drive past the offensive driver and give them a scowl. I don’t usually use the ‘D…’ word but I think it!
    Later I always feel convicted and have to ask for forgiveness.
    For me I think it comes down to my self centeredness. Yuck,…sounds ugly!

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