August 15, 2014

On Ravens and Writing Desks

“You should learn not to make personal remarks,” Alice said with some severity, “it's very rude.”
The Hatter opened his eyes very wide on hearing this; but all he SAID was, “Why is a raven like a writing-desk?”
‘Come, we shall have some fun now!’ thought Alice. ‘I’m glad they've begun asking riddles.’—“I believe I can guess that,” she added aloud.
“Do you mean that you think you can find out the answer to it?” said the March Hare.
“Exactly so,” said Alice.
“Then you should say what you mean,” the March Hare went on.
“I do,” Alice hastily replied; “at least--at least I mean what I say--that's the same thing, you know.”
“Not the same thing a bit!” said the Hatter. “You might just as well say that ‘I see what I eat’ is the same thing as ’I eat what I see’!”
“You might just as well say,” added the March Hare, “that ‘I like what I get’ is the same thing as ‘I get what I like’!”
“You might just as well say,” added the Dormouse, who seemed to be talking in his sleep, “that ‘I breathe when I sleep’ is the same thing as ‘I sleep when I breathe’!”
“It IS the same thing with you,” said the Hatter, and here the conversation dropped, and the party sat silent for a minute, while Alice thought over all she could remember about ravens and writing-desks, which wasn't much.
Words matter.

We can choose how we shape our words. The right choice of words can open up untold worlds of possibilities; they can free slaves, bring lovers together, and spur young minds to change the world. The wrong words, on the other hand, can be devastating; they can start wars, objectify and abuse the vulnerable, and cause the fear-filled oppression of millions.

The apostle James said that our words can be like freshwater, giving life, or like saltwater, tainting it. Saltwater words manipulate, deceive, create fear, because salt water words are, at their core, entirely interested in the self. Saltwater words are about gathering power over others, power to influence, power to control. Saltwater words are inconsistent with one another, for they are meant to manipulate others, and instead of bearing truth, they are at most full of half-truths.

You see, saltwater words say one thing and do another. Freshwater words, the words of life, are consistent with action, with the way you live your life. But the thing is, sometimes they can be the




The difference is consistency. The difference is intent. It is no coincidence that earlier, in chapter one, James connected freshwater words to serving orphans, widows, and the poor. Freshwater words breathe *life* into others. This is the very essence of the Kingdom: life.

Say what you mean. Mean what you say.

Live your words.

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