Every Word Costs Somebody Something

I’ve grown more quiet as I’ve aged, mainly because of realizing that every word costs me, or somebody, something. As a young man I thought I needed to speak a lot just to be heard. Here’s my journey with words:

  • When I was a baby, I learned words.
  • When I became a child, I learned to speak.
  • When I became a young man, I learned to speak up.
  • When I became a man, I learned to shut up.

I’ve been in pastoral work for 20 years and 10 of those years were spent working with teenagers. Thumbing through old notebooks that hold my first couple years of sermons are cringe-worthy. Not that all of what I was saying wasn’t true, but a lot of it was untested.

The scary thing is when I have heard someone from those years quote me. It doesn’t happen much but people remember the things you don’t want them repeating.

Whether you’ve spent hours behind a podium molding young minds or not, some of your words have been passed around a dinner table or two.

You’ve been quoted.

Although it was a paraphrase, and potentially the complete opposite of what your actually said, your name got dropped.

Someone still remembers and quotes you saying things you no longer believe, or ever believed for that matter.

Convictions are a funny thing.

The ones that come early are borrowed, at best, if not accompanied by experience.

There are four things that never return:

  • A guitar pick
  • A pen
  • A spent arrow
  • A word

Not only do some things never return, some never retire. Be wise with your words. They may come back to haunt you.

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