You’ve probably heard by now that the Library of Congress recently obtained rights to preserve all of the tweets on Twitter in their digital archives. This could be embarrassing for those who speak reactively or blurt out whatever comes to mind. Even if they later regret what they said, those impulsive tweets have become part of a permanent record.
Sadly though understandably, people often say weird or crazy things when they think no one is listening, when they think no one cares, but Christians know better. We know God cares. We know God hears. We know our words can have a permanent impact with the power to hurt or heal.
In case we forget or just don’t get it, Jesus gives weight to our words in Matthew 12:36-37 when He says, “I tell you on the day of judgment people will give an account for every careless word they utter, for by your words you will be justified and by your words you will be condemned."
However, as Christian poets, writers, and editors, we can respond and not just react to the news, mood, and events going on around us. In the presence of the Holy Spirit, we have the presence of mind to pray and the peace of mind to listen and really hear what God says.
Taking care to hear and speak and write correctly, we can research each fact and scriptural reference in every poem or manuscript - taking care, too, to be honest, accurate, credible, and clear.
If we can find a traditional Christian publishing house or a denominational publisher to produce our work, great! The staff will add their expertise, catching mistakes we might have missed and pointing out areas we did not realize need clarifying so others will understand. If we self-publish though, we will not have an in-house team to keep our work and words accountable, but even if we must pay for it ourselves, we can ask for input from other Christians who know Christ, the church, and also human nature.
Knowing how to look up a subject in a biblical index or encyclopedia will help too, of course. Sometimes we’re sure we know a certain verse by heart, but we can look it up anyway, preferably in a variety of reputable translations, to get a clearer, broader understanding of the context and true meaning.
The more we know the Bible, the more we retain the Word of God until our minds begin to resemble the mind of Christ. This not only brings our poems and manuscripts into a deeper, spiritual level that will surely strengthen and encourage readers, but these Christ-like thoughts help us to keep our words in line, in love, in truth. So when our writing lands in the Library Of Congress archives or anywhere else, we can rejoice!
We can be glad to have our words preserved. We can be happy that others may come to believe in God on account of what we said. We and our words can bring blessings in Jesus’ name and be blessed on account of Christ.
(c) 2010, Mary Harwell Sayler, all rights reserved.