The importance of words

I don’t know why or when it started but for as long as I can remember words have been important to me.  The correct usage of them is important.  The correct spelling of them is important.  Speaking them truthfully is important.

Remember those kids who would say, “I’m telling on my mommy?”  I’d always be the one to fire back, “Why?  What’d she do?”

My husband can also attest to this.  It was made abundantly clear to him on many an occasion that a sweater is different than a sweatshirt, so to a counter and a cupboard.  He gets it now!

I don’t think I’m being obsessive about it.  We use words a lot and if we mix up their meanings how will people know what we’re talking about?  How will he know that I want my grey sweatshirt for my morning run and not my grey sweater.  One’s comfy.  One’s not.  It could end disastrous!

So I carry this with me to church every sunday.  Thankfully we go to a church where words are also important to the preaching pastors and they use and select them with intention, as far as I can tell.  But when it comes to the lyrics of some songs – oh goodness – it nearly makes me want to stomp my feet and yell and really, walk around the church with a video camera and a microphone and question people on whether they really know what they’re singing and if, from the bottom of their heart, it’s truth for them.  Of course I don’t do this as I’m pretty sure I’d be asked to leave but what I do is not sing.  I can not, no, I will not sing lyrics that are not true.  I just won’t.

The song yesterday that had me all worked up was May the Words of My Mouth (ha ha!  I just noticed the irony of that) by Tim Hughes and Rob Hill.  It started out all fine and dandy as the first lines are quotes of a psalm.  I will never argue with scripture!  But when it got to the second half of verse two where the lyrics read:

“And I’ll look not for riches, Nor praises on the earth, Only You’ll be the first of my heart.”

Please tell me I’m not the only christian in our entire church of some 5,000 people who really does sometimes long for riches.  I would also be a total sham to say that I don’t look for praise on earth.  I do.  Daily.  These are imminent struggles in my journey of being a christian and these things do NOT come easily to me.  Most days Jesus in not first in my heart, though I long for him to be.

It goes on:

”  For this is what I’m glad to do, it’s time to live a life of love that pleases you.  And I will give my all to you, surrender everything I have and follow you.”

Glad to do?  Glad to do?  Glad to give everything – house, car, investment portfolio, looks, children, spouse, friends, north america, safety, facade of freedom, favourite nail polish, the internet, nourishment, clean water, video games, gps, iphones, restaurants, relationship, security, happiness, working limbs, internal organs, eyes, ears, mouth and nose, hockey teams, football teams, baseball teams, university, red wine, chocolate, girls nights, guys nights, any night at all, me time, family time, down time, nap time, time shares, vacation, rest, relaxation, vulnerability, reputation, the appearance you’ve worked so hard for, your very life – your glad, so very glad to give of these things?  And you can just sing it out to an emotional tune?  I’m so glad for you.  I can’t.  And so I don’t.

I try desperately not to judge those around me who are belting out these words.  I truly hope that they have found a place of utter surrender to their saviour.  I’m not there.  I’m not sure I ever will be.  It seems more likely that until the day I die I will be selfish and an idolator and that I will time and time again place things of this earth in a more important place than Christ.  Is that not why we need to come to Him daily?  Because it’s hard?  Because there is a struggle within us?  Like the apostle Paul said – I do not do the things that I want to do  – a raging battle between flesh, wickedness, innate sinfulness and a long to please our Saviour.

Of course a few words could change everything.  Add “ideally” before each line and I’m  in!  Add an “I’ll try with all I’ve got but you need to help me cause it’s hard,” and I am belting it out!  I just need it to be true!  And this song, unfortunately for me, just isn’t.

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2 thoughts on “The importance of words

  1. Yeah, you’re dead on… but I’m one of those you want to scold. But my fear is the music leader would feel foolish and take it personal if the congregation just stared at him as he led a song that we knew we were not living faithfully to the lyrics. But then, do we live faithfully to the words of any songs that proclaim our own efforts? I’m with you… let’s just sing about what Jesus has done! God bless, and thanks for stopping by.

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  2. Sometimes, I think I’m the only one not singing – for the same reason . . . I totally get that. Brian and I have sometimes wondered if the music leaders and pastoral leaders even meet!! I wonder if it’s because the more ‘realistic’ music (mostly hymns, it seems!) aren’t modern enough for the general public??

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