Friday, June 5, 2020

Christlike Words by Melinda V. Inman

Meme that says "Writer Life."

Christlike Words

Our words are powerful. They’re able to help or to destroy. We can speak Christlike words of life to those around us and write them to our readers, or we can destroy all hope, devastate our listeners/readers, and bring emotional destruction.

In James 3, the brother of Jesus likens our words and our inability to tame them to:

  • a fire with the ability to be useful or to burn down a forest.
  • a small bit in the mouth of a large horse controlling that animal for good or for ill.
  • a rudder that steers a massive seafaring vessel into fair waters or into a storm.

With our words, we’re able to assist, to guide, or to steer others toward harm or toward good. Which are we doing? Our faith is shown by our actions (James 2:17, 22, 24). This includes the words that come out of our mouths and the words that flow from our keyboards.

How can we be wise with our words?

Before posting or tweeting, writers have the ability to pause to consider what the Lord would have us to write and to determine what is pleasing to him. We can take time to reflect and to pray, thus allowing our emotions to calm. We can ponder how our words might impact others.

After taking time to consider, we’re typically able to respond wisely. If not, more time is needed. We can step away to patiently exam the matter in more depth.

During this pandemic, we’ve encountered issues we’ve never before faced in our lifetimes. Decisions are handed down by government-appointed health officials, and we all seem to differ on how to respond, what to do, and what not to do about these guidelines. Strife over this has broken out in our churches, our neighborhoods, our families, and within our circle of friends.

What’s a Christian writer to do?

“A person is justified by works and not by faith alone,” James 2:24b tells us, meaning that we’re proven to be believers or unbelievers by our deeds, including our words. The content of our hearts spills out in our actions and our words, both verbally and in our written posts and tweets.

Therefore, as Christian writers, we must constantly probe our hearts to decipher our true motives. Are we led by the Lord? We must also determine whether the issue we feel so strongly about is worth dissecting publicly, or if we’re far too vehement to state our viewpoint kindly and gently, yet firmly. How would the Lord have us tackle the matter?

If we lack perspective on an issue, because it’s intensely personal, we must question ourselves before posting, maybe even obtaining another’s opinion. When emotions are high, we write strong words of truth, not backing down from what is right, yet tempering our words with gentleness and concern for the soul to whom we write. We ask ourselves:

Have we used Christlike words that are sound and true, demonstrating love and kindness?

Meme that says "Do unto others as you would have them do to you."

We’re Christians. Will we treat others the way we would like to be treated? Can we discern their needs, as if we were living through the other’s situation or experiencing the heartache they must bear? In person or in print, will we speak as we would like to be spoken to?

As writers, let’s use words of wisdom, pausing to allow an unkind retort to fade away and not to be sent out into the wider world when interacting on social media.

Let’s write words that will challenge, convict, and uplift our readers to pause, to think, to speak kindly, to love one another, and to do to others as we would like done to us.

Let’s write words that aim our readers toward trusting the Lord and keeping the interests of others first. Let’s live, speak, and write in ways that please Christ, using Christlike words.

Let’s live, speak, and write in ways that please Christ, using Christlike words. #WritingCommunity #seriouslywrite #KindnessMatters via @MelindaVInman

The Shadows Come
The Shadows Come

Sequel to No Longer Alone
(WW1 Based on a True Story)

Germany threatens all of Europe. Millions have died. President Woodrow Wilson makes the declaration that the United States must enter the Great War to rescue our allies. Congress approves. Our story begins. In America’s heartland, everyone hunkers down to provide food for the world and resources for the war effort. A draft is necessary, and all young men must register. One by one, these are called to war. With this threat looming, Prentis and Avery raise the necessary horsepower, cultivate the needed crops, and contribute their labors to the Red Cross.

But crises at home, an insidious busybody, and one after another called up to fight in Europe bring the greatest dangers they’ve ever faced together. Then there’s the influenza pandemic. Will they survive the war abroad and the war being waged at home, threatening their love and their lives? Will their loved ones make it home again?

Melinda V. Inman, author of Fallen; Refuge;
No Longer Alone; and The Shadows Come

Raised on the Oklahoma plains in a storytelling family, Melinda now spins tales from her writer’s cave in the South. Her fiction illustrates our human story, wrestling with our brokenness and the storms that wreak havoc in our lives.


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  1. Thanks for this well timed reminder. It is so important to remember why we write and the power of our words.

    1. Our response and the words we add to the conversation about both the pandemic and the simultaneous racial tension are incredibly important. We must keep these words of Jesus in mind and try to imagine these situations through the eyes and experiences of others.

  2. Yes, during this time of emotional, financial, and spiritual upheaval in our country, it feels like it's even more important to use our words and social media platforms wisely.

    Thanks for sharing your wisdom and passion, Melinda!

    1. Thanks, Dawn! You're so right! Our words and our platforms can be used for great good right now, if we're using our words wisely with compassion and love for others. A lot can be done for good when we use our words in a Christlike way.

  3. Our words can help or harm. I pray we all pause and consider words to use before speaking and/or putting pen to paper.

    1. Amen to that, Melissa! Our words are powerful, especially right now in these trying times. We must pause and consider our words.

  4. You are so right -- words can wound! We must use as words as Jesus would. Great points here.

    1. Jessica, thank you for commenting. Walking in the steps of Christ requires us to use words like Jesus would, strongly, truthfully, and with love for the listener.

  5. Yes. As writers, we do (or should) care a great deal about words. And the fact that we can pause, think, and edit is why writing is my preferred method to communicate what's on my mind and heart. I often stick my foot in my mouth. I do that less when I speak with my pen and keyboard. I typically read my writing several times over 3 or 4 days before I publish a blog post. It's amazing how much I change. It's similar for my tweets and FB posts, too. Pausing is critical. And occasionally I click delete. You are so right. Words matter and they are powerful. I hope my writing is beneficial and not hurtful.

    1. Stephen, we've got the same techniques. Writing, revising over and over again during a several day process, pondering on those words, and then finally posting. Same with responding to social media posts. Like you, I also sometimes go back and delete what I wrote if something seems off. Writing to benefit and not to hurt -- well said, brother! Thank you for adding your thoughts.

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  7. Melinda, what a powerful, important reminder for everyone, but especially those called to represent Jesus in our writing. Lord, have mercy. When you mentioned the images used by James regarding our words - fire, bit, rudder - though I've read these hundreds of times, somehow it jumped out at me again. Our words are serious and are either used as swords of truth or weapons of hatred, agents of healing or toxic chemicals that burn and scar with no good result. Thank you for helping us pause and remember this powerful gift. May we use our words as God leads, in ways that sound like our Savior.

    1. The mental pictures you painted here are strong ones, Melissa! "Agents of healing or toxic chemicals that burn and scar with no good result," are powerful ways to state these comparisons made by James. These are the things we seek to avoid, the burning and scarring of our readers with our written words and our hearers with our spoken words. In these tumultuous times, it's wise to pause to consider before we write and speak. Thank you for adding these thoughts to the discussion, Melissa.


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