What We Wear Matters

It is quite the thing these days to choose a word for the year. I’ve never done it but I have enjoyed reading about the word choices of others and how it plays out in their lives through out the year.

Words are powerful.

Kingdoms have risen and fallen upon the words of good and evil men.

Fortunes have traded hands because of a well spoken deal or crafty conman.

As Christians we shouldn’t be surprised by the power of words. After all, the world and everything in it found it’s origin in the voice of God as He spoke it into being. As if that wasn’t enough He then crafted the most glorious tale of all time…one full of stories within the Greater Story. Beauty, love, intrigue, deception, betrayal, enemies and battles, death, triumphs and resurrection. We are people of story. It is woven into the very fabric of our lives.

I was at the library last week and randomly flipped open a book and saw this quote.

“Language is the dress of thought.” ~Samuel Johnson

What an amazing way to view words! It has stayed on my mind the whole week…this idea that language covers the nakedness of thought.

Our words can cover or reveal.

Sometimes my words rush out past my lips in nothing more than a diaper and a onesie.  My flash of angry or frustrated thought snatches the clothes of infancy for covering.

Harsh and unkind words are dressed with dirt stained overalls of one who has wallowed in the mud. Or as filthy as a dock worker or fishwife.

Words can be hard but life giving and their attire is that of a baker covered in flour who has labored in the kitchen to make nourishing bread.

Then there are times when my thoughts are guided by the Word and their expression is found in the soft gentleness of an afternoon tea dress that catches and flutters in the breeze.

Loving thoughts come in wedding finery, pure and brilliant.

Obviously clothing can be deceptive. (Spanks anyone?) The language we choose to use does not always truthfully reflect the reality of our thoughts so this analogy can only go so far. But Mr. Johnson went on to say this:

“…and as the noblest of men or the most graceful of action would be degraded and obscured by a garb appropriated to the gross employments of rustics or mechanics, so the most heroic sentiments will lose their efficacy, and the most splendid ideas drop their magnificence, if they are conveyed by words used commonly upon low and trivial occasions, debased by vulgar mouths, and contaminated by inelegant applications.”

The Bible tells us that “…whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” 

If we are being obedient to that then the language of our thoughts will be winsome. Or as Solomon put it, like apples of gold in settings of silver. We won’t come to a barn raising for our neighbor garbed for a night out on the town and therefore unfit to offer help. We’ll choose the cloth of forgiveness over the bitter cheap material of the too small suit of a mafia hit man.

Our thoughts, and how we dress them, should be a reflection of the garments we have been given by the King. And why would we want to cover our garments of salvation and our robe of righteousness with ill fitting and unbecoming layers that cover their beauty and hide who has truly dressed us?

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