Words Don’t Always Say What They Mean

Marcia Laycock is a pastor’s wife, mother of three grown daughters and the winner of the Best New Canadian Christian Author Award for her novel, One Smooth Stone. Her first devotional book, The Spur of the Moment is about to be reprinted. To pre-order at a reduced cost, contact her at Marcia AT vinemarc.com

The voice coming out of the speaker was clipped and rapid. “What kind of muffin would you like? We have carrot, fat wise carrot, blueberry, fat wise blueberry, cranberry and fat wise cranberry.”

My husband and I fell into a fit of giggles. Fat wise? As we waited at the second window for the goods to be delivered, he joked. “I wonder if it talks? If it’s wise, it must be able to talk. What do you think a wise muffin would say?”
“I only care about the fat part,” I replied. “A nice plump muffin. Yup. That’s what I want.”

The muffin was, in fact, small, heavy as a stone and decidedly mute. As we pulled away from the fast-food restaurant, my husband continued his banter about fat wise muffins until my daughter groaned and asked him to quit. He shook his head. “I feel sorry for people coming to this country and trying to learn English.”

Sometimes the way we use words makes no sense. This seems to be particularly true in advertising. For instance, consider the expressions – ‘color me smooth,’ and ‘a sandwich just isn’t a sandwich,’or ‘lips that don’t quit.’ Our culture speaks in slogans and metaphors, not to mention anagrams. Directions can be completely misunderstood by the absence of one word, the meaning of a sentence changed by a misplaced comma. Often these can be quite humourous, but they are all hindrances to clear communication. It’s no wonder we laugh at the poster that reads – I know you believe you understand what you think I said, but I’m not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.

Words can obscure understanding even when intentions are pure. Words can twist meaning when intentions are evil. There are, however, words that can be trusted, words that are meant to heal and bless, words that will never die. Psalm 12:6 says, “And the words of the Lord are flawless, like silver refined in a furnace of clay, purified seven times.” Isaiah 55:10-11 says – “As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth; it will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”

What words does the Lord speak to us? Words of assurance and comfort, words of challenge and sometimes reproach, words of guidance and warning. Our culture lives by the words of advertisers and slogan writers, words meant to spin the coin out of our pockets. God’s words are meant to bring truth, life, peace. Whose words have you chosen to use?