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You Always Own Your Words: Choose Them Well

Once you spit something out, you can’t take it back. We see this principle demonstrated all the time in the media. A leader or celebrity says something insensitive and suddenly heads roll. Jesus said our words are an indicator of our heart, and the Proverbs tell us that you can’t recover words once you’ve thrown them out there. So choose wisely what you’re about to say.

I learned this principle the hard and personal way this week. I wrote a post about three years ago and mentioned an author. I used his words from a publicly published devotional as an illustration of something that frustrates me about modern Christianity. Three years pass and the author discovers my blog post. After pointing it out to me, I realized that I not only took his words out of context, I also didn’t do enough research on his theology. I misrepresented him.

My apology was quickly and graciously accepted, but the thought hit me pretty hard that once we throw words out, we must own the responsibility of them. We can apologize. We can make amends, but we can’t take back the actual words we’ve said and sometimes we cannot reverse the effects of them.

Know why this is so scary for me? Because I, like you, speak tens of thousands of words per day in conversation. I write on a couple of blogs. I preach and teach multiple times each week. That’s a lot for which to be responsible!

In case your curiosity is built up, and since I’d like to set the record straight anyway, here’s the post. Make sure you read the comments to understand Michael’s true position and my apology as well.

And by the way, Mr. Craven runs a pretty cool blog himself at Battle For Truth and has a book coming out that I’m looking forward to reading called Uncompromised Faith. I’m thankful for Michael’s gracious spirit in our discussion, and I’m even more thankful for our gracious God. In the words of Phillips, Craig, and Dean, “let my words be few.”

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  • Tom Fellows

    Oh, the power of words! LOL

    I read your OP on this matter, and I think by and large you took a conservative, Baptist position and I see nothing wrong with that. I do think there is a general “muddying of the waters” in mainstream Christianity today that begs us to “dumb down” our positions in an effort to encourage broader fellowship. That does concern me greatly and we have to be careful about those associations.

    I wouldn’t sweat it too much, your quoted author disagreed with what you said, you smoothed the waters over yet still held to your original position. Nobody ever said we’d be popular as preachers! :)