Do you remember the iconic scene in the movie The Miracle Worker, when blind and deaf-mute Helen Keller finally understands that the movements of Annie Sullivan’s fingers in her palm identifies the cool liquid pouring over her hand: WATER? From that point, Helen learns to communicate. She has discovered words.

Written words, spoken words (including sign language)—words are our chief means of communication. Words identify objects and express ideas. They allow us to convey facts and thoughts to one another. We can use our words for good or for evil, to heal and edify or to wound and tear down. The words we use, and the way we weave them together, can reveal truth or support lies.

We chose words that fit our purpose and meaning. We use words to express (or expose) what is in our hearts, what we are passionate about. We know from history that written and spoken words have brought down empires and inspired great heroism. Yet, simple expressions of encouragement or comfort through a written message or a phone call hold great meaning as well.

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names and faces won’t hurt me.” Although we may say it or think it, it’s not entirely true, is it? The derogatory names people throw at us remain with us. Names are words. Parents choose beautiful or meaningful names for their children. But sometimes the “names” we call each other are not beautiful. They are intended to hurt and cut down. I have been hurt by words spoken to and about me. And I have hurt others by thoughtless and careless words.

Social media gives us a quick and easy way to communicate every day. I enjoy personal messages from friends and family, keeping up-to-date on what’s happening in their lives, learning more about people I’ve never met and places I’ve never visited. There is so much potential to inform, convey truth, and have fun.

The ugly side of social media is the name-calling, the propagation of lies, and the attempt to create chaos through words meant for evil intent. I am often reminded of this verse from the Bible book of James: “And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell.” (3:6 NKJV)

How quick and easy it is to cause trouble by our words, spoken or written!

I love the imagery of Proverbs 25:11: “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.” (NKJV)  Wisely spoken (or written) words are of great value, like gold and silver, or a beautiful work of art. I enjoy putting words together to create stories and books. I want my writing to be crafted in such a way that it is meaningful and valuable to the reader. As a Christian, I am accountable to God for my words.

“Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart/ Be acceptable in Your sight,/O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.” (Psalm 19:14 NKJV)

Words communicate who we are and what is important to us. As a Christian writer, I desire to hear God’s “well done, good and faithful servant.”