The most powerful spoken and written messages consist of select words, ordered in a particular way. Too many words can bore the audience. Wrong or misplaced words can lead to confusion and miscommunication. But just the right words can transform lives.
While writing a report recently, it occurred to me that less is sometimes better. My final report contained fewer words than I started with, but the content was more clear, compelling, and concise. Little by little, I had eliminated the unnecessary words and compiled the rest into an accurate account of progress.
I realized that the process used in writing reports can apply to everyday communications. We can sort through the hundreds of messages that overwhelm us on the radio, in stores, at work—even in our own homes. We can choose to focus on certain words and discard others. When we have all the words we need (the context), we can receive messages as intended.
Some words are negative. For example, millions of people suffer from various illnesses and injuries. The descriptions alone can nauseate us. But a diagnosis of symptoms is not a full report. Many of these individuals undergo effective treatments, and as a result, heal and recover their health.
Some words are simply not true. A relative may have called us no good. But the God who created us considers us very good, and in fact, wonderfully made (Genesis 1:31, Psalm 139:14).
Some words are twisted. We may have had a lot of difficulties in life—and still face challenges now—but that doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate or that something bad will always happen. Jesus came so we might have and enjoy our life, and with Him, our path gets increasingly brighter (John 10:10, Proverbs 4:18).
When Jesus lived on the earth, He also encountered lots of words—news of people who had become sick or had died, claims that denied His identity as the Son of God, and temptations from the same enemy who twists the truth today. Jesus finished every report by introducing hope, sending healing, restoring life, and declaring what is written—God’s Word.
Like Jesus, we can finalize our reports with what is written in the Bible. When bad news triggers fear of harm, we can wrap it up with “No harm overtakes the righteous” (Proverbs 12:21). No matter how devastating the doctor’s prognosis is, we benefit from the ultimate medical coverage: a Lord who heals all our diseases (Psalm 103:3). And yes, we can rejoice even in trials, because we know we will come through them with greater determination (James 1:2-3).
May we think about, write, and speak the words that renew us and all who receive our messages.