I picked our younger two kids up from school yesterday. It was a half-day (parent/teacher interviews day 1) and the sun was shining gloriously. I waited at the school gate and they emerged from school looking unhappy.
“How was your day?” I asked. “Good,” volunteered my daughter,”But he just said that I’m worthless”
“You need to apologise” I said to my son with my hardest ‘that was not a good thing to say stare’. He apologised. I asked why he’d say something like that, “because everyone is worthless!” he said. Suddenly worried for his mental state I asked what he meant by that.
“well, there is no amount of money that can be given for a person’s life – we’re all worthless”
“ ‘Priceless’, you mean ‘priceless’!”
A small shift but a huge change in meaning. Words are important but sometimes confusing. Language can be a treacherous friend. My son had tried to be nice to his sister and actually hurt her feelings and ended up confused by the whole situation.
He meant priceless and said worthless and got me thinking.
When we speak of God, of what He has done in Jesus and is doing in the lives of believers today in the power and presence of the Holy Spirit, we can sometimes say ‘well you know what I mean, it’s hard to explain’. We can skirt around a subject and give up on trying to be precise BUT words are important and powerful. It can be hard to express what we mean, especially when we are speaking about God, talking of who He is and what He is doing. However it matters that we do talk and it matters that we do as well as we can: talking of Him and to Him our words matter, precisely because He matters.
He is priceless – I want to be certain that I don’t communicate that He is worthless by the ways in which I speak of Him and to Him.