“… Words are powerful; take them seriously …” (Matt. 12:36 MSG).
I noticed a small typo within a comment that I had posted on a friend’s blog. Instead of the word “power,” I had typed “poser.”
A minor mistake? Not for a writer! And especially not in this case!
My tiny error distorted the entire significance of this scripture: “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us” (2 Cor. 4:7 NIV).
One word shifted my focus and the potential attention of my readers. All I could see was my mistake. I lost sight of the message and power of God’s Word. And my readers may have missed the entire point of my comment.
How many times do we let one word spoil things for us? We speak a single word of profanity in the heat of an argument. Or we whisper a little white lie as we try to cover up a mistake. We often regret the unexpected consequences that result from our words. One negative comment or careless thought voiced in frustration or anger can blind us from seeing God’s blessings in a situation.
As a writer, I cringe when I discover one insignificant word choice that turns a powerful point into a grammatical disaster. And I wince when I read an offensive term that will repel an audience of would-be readers.
As a writing instructor, I notice many writers resisting the editing process. They focus on the goal of finishing their writing task, instead of fine-tuning their grammar and mechanics. They get offended if anyone calls attention to one tiny mistake or unclear point, or someone suggests meaningful change. Then, they get angry or depressed when they receive a lower grade for their work, or the piece is rejected for publication.
As a Christian, I’ve also experienced the power of God’s Word. One word of encouragement can pull me out of the deepest pit of despair. A single promise from God’s Word can offer hope to me, when my circumstances seem overwhelming. My simple confession of faith can produce peace in my heart and mind “which exceeds anything (I) can understand.” (Phil. 4:7 NLT).
So, does one word matter? God’s Word answers this question. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1).
Have you experienced the power of one word?