As a young boy growing up in the inner city of Rochester New York, I loved going to the movies. I remember when downtown Rochester was booming with business. Movie theaters, with their marquees, were a spectacle of lights. Back then, there was no such thing as multiplex theaters. Instead, we had the Capital Theater on E. Main Street and the Coronet Theater on Thurston Road. On the weekend, for two dollars, you could watch two or three movies. A brief intermission between them gave you just enough time to go get refreshments. What a deal!
It is funny and amazing how a person’s childhood can shape their adulthood. I still love to watch movies, just ask my wife, Amy. If Amy and I are grocery shopping at Wegmans, you’ll find me at the Redbox machine checking out the new arrival. If we happen to be out shopping at Wal-Mart, look for me near their electronics. Even my daughters know that’s where they can find dad, rummaging through Wal-Mart’s five dollar movie bin hoping to find an inexpensive DVD. Oh! And did I mention Netflixs?
Well, my newest find is the public library. Our local library has a good movie selection and it’s free! I recently I checked out a movie, titled The Words. Amy and I really enjoyed this movie and our conversation about it the days that followed is what spurred this post.
The Words is a great movie about a young, aspiring writer named Roy Jensen and his girlfriend Dora. Roy has not been able to get any of his work published and as a result has been bankrolled by his father. Eventually Roy’s dad tells him that he’s getting his last check. He needs to be realistic and get a job to support himself. His dad even offers Roy a job working for him but Roy declines because writing is his passion … his dream. He wants so much for his words to matter.
Roy and his girlfriend marry and take a vacation in Paris to get away. While shopping at an antique shop Dora sees an old dusty black attaché case and buys it for Roy.
Over time Roy discovers a manuscript inside one of the compartments in the case. Unbeknownst to Roy, the novel he found was written and lost by a soldier who was stationed in France during the war. He, too, aspired to be a writer. Late one night Roy started to read the novel. Its words seemed to jumped right off the pages. The words were so captivating Roy couldn’t put the novel down and he stays up all night reading it.
Roy can’t seem to take his mind off this novel. One night, so moved by the story, he decides to retype the entire novel on his computer, word for word. He even includes the misspelled words and typos. Roy does not want to leave any of the writer’s words out. Somehow every word seems to matter and breaths life into his very soul.
Roy keeps the novel a secret from Dora. But one day Dora decides to take a peek at Roy’s computer to see what he’s been writing and comes across the typed novel. Of course she assumes that it’s Roy’s work. Dora moved to tears by the power of the words, tells Roy that she always knew he had in him and that he was an amazing writer. Dora insists that Roy show the novel to the publishing firm where he works in the mailroom. What Roy does next reveals how much words matter. Now to go any further may give the whole story away and prevent you from watching a great movie. The point is this, that words – whether written, spoken or even thought – do matter!
IF I COULD ONLY TAKE THAT BACK
How many times have you done or said something that you wished you hadn’t? If only I could take it back … if only it were possible to go back in time and change things. Well, it’s for this reason I am writing this post. Because, words do matter. With our words we can either build a person up or we can tear them down. To be quite honest, I think we tend to tear people down more unintentionally than we do intentionally. All because we chose not give any thought as to how our choice of words would impact another person. The Bible has many things to say about our tongue and the words that come out of our mouths.
The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.
Words spoken to others can have the ability to edify and built up those who hear them when used for encouragement . On the other hand, words that are used unjustifiably to wrongfully hurt and condemn people can be as painful as death. If someone had told you ten years ago that the Internet would be used by children to bully other children, to the point of death, you would not have believed them. Our words, believe it or not, are seeds that take root into the lives of others, even ourselves, and over time they produce fruit. Are the fruits of your words bringing forth life or death to you and those around you?
WORDS ARE SEEDS THAT PRODUCE FRUIT
Jesus has this to say about a tree and the kind of fruit it bares. “Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit. You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.” Words matter because they are powerful. Matthew 26:33-36
I hope by now that you’ve got the gist of this. Words do matter. They should matter to those that speak them because they matter to those that hear them. Why are words so powerful? Words are powerful because long after the person who spoke them leaves, those words act as seeds that can resonate in the very hearts of others. Your words can take seed and bare roots and at the time of harvest, what would you want your fruit to look like? A harvest of good fruit or a harvest of bitter fruit?
So I leave you with the Living Word, who is Jesus the son of God. Heaven and earth will pass away, but the word of God will remain the same. So choose your words carefully.
Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.