Dr. George Buttrick recalls a day when he sat at a high school commencement staring at a motto in huge letters above the platform: “Deeds, not words”. Buttrick knew the motto had it wrong. Words are deeds. Words are tremendous, potent deeds. “Words turn the tides of history, shatter human lives, paint pictures, carve motives, light lamps,” writes Paul Scherer.
He goes on to say, “We have grown used to speaking so carelessly to one another, (even more so now that we have Email, Facebook and Twitter) and cheaply sometimes, as if on this point … we need not concern ourselves overmuch. Words, we say, are such usual things, such casual, futile things; it doesn’t matter much what we do with them or to what level we let them sink. Let them be frivolous or bitter or indifferent or vulgar—they’re only words. It’s deeds that count!”
We deal so carelessly with words. Words are never idle we have been told and we shall have to give an account for every one we speak. Words carry sorrows and joys. Words carry the burdens of the world on their back. Words start wars! Words divide! Yet with Paul Scherer, I have to say that “I’ve loved words ever since I can remember—the sound and color and fire of them; I think I stand in awe of them now, and pray God to help me load them rightly with mercy and some loving kindness!”
Think before you act! Think, also, before you speak. Words are deeds!