[forthright] When Words Lose Their Meaning

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From: Forthright Magazine <forthrightmag@...>
Date: Fri, 28 May 2010 06:42:26 -0700 (PDT)
Forthright Magazine 
Straight to the Cross

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When Words Lose Their Meaning
 by Tim Hall

Tell someone "You're the bee's knees" and you may get a
blank stare. "Bee's knees?” they might respond. "What
in the world are you talking about?"

There was a time when that phrase was used as a
compliment, a term of affection. But those words have
now lost their meaning for most of our society.

It can happen with words that we use frequently. Though
we attempt to convey a message, for one reason or
another, the words we use have lost their meaning. Let
me suggest a couple of common examples.

"I love you" is often spoken between husbands and
wives. But does the phrase still have the meaning it
once did? If one rarely makes time for the other, or if
one has abused the trust of the other, the words become

You might say "I love you," many times a day, but if
you don't back up those words with appropriate actions,
they are meaningless. Just hearing the words in the
absence of visible proof of love can make the other

"I'm sorry" is another phrase that can be drained of
any meaning. How easy it is to produce the vocal
sounds! When we have stepped over the boundaries of
another's trust, we quickly say "I'm sorry!"

But will it mean anything to the other? If this is the
umpteenth time we have committed this transgression,
the words are no longer sufficient. It's time to back
up the words with appropriate (changed) behavior.

I've chosen to highlight these phrases because they are
often used in our most significant relationships: with
our spouses, and with our Lord. But do they mean
anything any longer? Are we attempting to avoid
altering our behavior by using our "get-out-of-jail-
free" words?

Jesus warned us against speaking words without giving
appropriate consideration to their meaning.

   "But I say to you that for every idle word
   men may speak, they will give account of it
   in the day of judgment. For by your words
   you will be justified, and by your words you
   will be condemned" (Matthew 12:36, 37,

Considering their potential for harm, every word should
be spoken carefully. And when I speak to the ones I
love most, let me make absolutely sure my actions
verify the message I'm attempting to send. God’s words
are infallibly true (Romans 3:4).

Do I come close to his standard?

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