I skim. I read titles, headlines, and first sentences quickly and go back later to fill in details. Usually this allows me to summarize a post or an article before reading, but sometimes my first, cursory glance isn’t accurate and has startling results.
Skimming the name of a post featuring a ground beef recipe, I misread the title (“Frugal food – savoury mince”) on Donna Hetzel’s blog, Down to Earth. I left out the “n,” making the title read “Frugal food–savoury mice” and then went on to see this in the first paragraph: “This is a good dish that uses a small amount of meat but it’s still very tasty.” Hmm . . . perhaps a little too frugal for me.
I need to read more carefully.
Sometimes my lack of care in reading titles leads to letters added. Piercing The Fog: How To See Past The Gloom Of Despair in Of Dust and Kings became “Piercing the Frog” in my slapdash scanning. T E Hanna’s serious commentary on despair and the life of David turned into a puzzling mix in my mind of amphibian cuisine, meat forks, and depression.
I need to skim with more caution.
Recently I saw this news story title: “Wisconsin Town Uses Explosives on Frozen Creek.” I misread one word, however, and accidentally turned the The La Crosse Tribune’s story into “Wisconsin Town Uses Expletives on Frozen Creek.” I presumed it referred to citizens in Wisconsin venting their frustration with a long, cold winter. Words can be powerful, but I don’t think they’ll have much effect on icy creek beds.
Words really are powerful, though, and we should be careful with them.
A letter or two can make a big difference.
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A few weeks ago we visited a glass house conservatory with a butterfly wing. Before entering the butterfly area, the docent warned us no plant material was allowed; neither were food and drink, large bags, or strollers. She explained that we shouldn’t touch or grab the butterflies to prevent their fragile wings from being broken and the scales from being rubbed off. Unfortunately, some of the butterflies we saw did have damaged wings.
We also needed to watch where we stepped because the butterflies often sat on the walkway. Before leaving we were to make sure we had no butterfly hitchhikers. In short, we needed to be careful.
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Look at the people around you. Walk carefully; watch where you step. There are many fragile hearts needing a kind word, a sweet and healing word. Words are powerful.
Gracious words are a honeycomb,
sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.
Proverbs 16:24 NIV
Words are full of power, and we should be full of care and consideration as to when we say them.
The right word at the right time
is like a custom-made piece of jewelry,
Proverbs 25:11 MSG
Words are able to build up hopes or dash down dreams. Remember the children’s Sunday School song? “Be careful little mouth what you say.”
Just as a letter or two inaccurately read changed the whole meaning of a story, a single word or two can hurt or discourage.
Speak instead words that encourage, that build up to your family, your friends, the people in your pew at church, the stranger in line at the grocery store. Speak them to yourself. Words that comfort, that cheer, that console.
So speak encouraging words to one another. Build up hope so you’ll all be together in this, no one left out, no one left behind. I know you’re already doing this; just keep on doing it.
1 Thessalonians 5:11 MSG
Speak the words of the God who loves us with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3), who will never forsake us, who loves us enough to die for us.
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.
Deuteronomy 31:6 NIV
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 5:8 NIV
My prayer for us all:
May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart
be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. Psalm 19:14 NIV
linking with Jennifer Dukes Lee
linking with Holley Gerth