The Mouth Speaks…

Words matter. I made this statement a few weeks ago during a city budget discussion and have repeated it during my latest assignment. I’m finding that I need to listen more carefully and speak less frequently but more specifically. I don’t ever want to find myself excusing something I said because of a “Clinton technicality”. He based his whole answer about the Monica Lewinski affair on the word – relations. I won’t go any further except to say that he wasn’t lying when he described his affair by saying “he didn’t have relations with her”. It certainly split hairs though. Words matter when you are dealing with people. Each one of us has a different interpretation of various words and each word can elicit a different emotion for different people. Knowing your audience or the receiver is important before you start to speak.

Who are you speaking to and on what subject is very important in helping you make good word choices. If you are speaking with someone as a supervisor or need to give direction or take corrective action, your word choice is critical to express the seriousness of your intent. The tone and inflection of your voice are also important to the delivery of your intended message. “You sounded mad when you said that” is a common complaint of teens with their parents. Take the time necessary to gather your thoughts and choose the words that convey your message before you speak. If you find that you are frequently having misunderstandings with people or that you are explaining yourself in greater detail more often, re-think your word choice and how you deliver your message. The people receiving your message don’t know what you are “trying” to say, they only know what you’ve said.

“A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” Luke 6:45

People that you see on a regular basis always seem to know when you are having a bad day or are just not at the top of your game. They also know when you are playing to the crowd, which is not a completely honest way of dealing with people. The good stored in your heart is a gift from God. Truthfulness, compassion and caring are things that we learned from the actions and teachings of Jesus.

Some people can “play to the crowd” very well and say one thing in public but say another behind closed doors. God is always watching and knows what is on your heart. Sooner or later the truth or the “real person” is revealed. Keep your heart stored up with good by being surrounded with the good of this world. Maintain fellowship with other Christians; regularly attend worship so you are reminded of the forgiveness won by Jesus; devote time to regular bible reading and most importantly, pray. God wants to hear from you and by building your relationship with Him, you will know all of the good that you have to offer.

Your word is the truth

“All you have is your word” is an old expression about truthfulness. Recent studies have shown that the American people are losing trust with Washington, City Hall, Church Leaders, co-workers and spouses. Who’s left? There isn’t much. We see decay all around us in the news with a number of ethics investigations, people embezzling, corporate corruption, high divorce rates and the number of “new” churches starting up to tell their versions of the “truth”. It seems to be an uphill battle; people are more skeptical and less trusting than they have been in years. Our job as a leader is to be truthful at all times. People deserve the truth and when we are truthful, they begin to understand what we are saying. Trustworthiness is the number one personality trait that people look for in a leader. People have to trust you as their leader; your word is your truth. No one wants to hear the latest spin you’ve got or the “company line” when they ask questions or see you in action; they want the truth, plain and simple.

John 17:17 “Sanctify them by the truth; your word is the truth.”

Fortunately, we have the bible, which is filled with God’s truths. We have been given examples of God’s promises and his fulfillment of them. There is no spin on anything in the bible and the only “company line” is “Love the Lord Your God”. Life can create doubts all around us; sometimes we are not sure who or what to believe anymore. Despite all of this confusion and our own lack of understanding, God has kept his word and will provide eternal life for us; a life better than we can imagine here on earth. So, despite all of the uncertainty we can all rest comfortably knowing that we can find our truths in the bible and in Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.