An old rumor holds that women speak around 20,000 words per day while men use only 7,000. I’m smart enough not to comment on this statistic (beside the fact that recent studies have disproven it).
However, regardless of your daily word quota, I would like for you consider this question: what are those words worth?
I remember the astonishment during my first week of freshman year when I heard profanity on campus, and then more and then more. My naïve belief at the time was that by stepping onto a Christian campus, I had said goodbye to vulgar language that I heard when I was “out there.”
Apparently not everyone had gotten the memo.
But before I encountered foul language at OC, I wasted no time speaking negatively of others on campus – both in their presence and behind their backs. I was raised to watch my language, but despite also being taught to respect others and to show compassion, I didn’t have a problem dishing out hateful comments and derogatory rhetoric at the expense of others. What happened to following Christ’s example of love and kindness, especially on a Christian campus with fellow believers?
Apparently I had not gotten the memo.
I’d like to think I’ve grown up a little since then. I hope that I show more kindness than I once did, though I know at times this is probably untrue. But in my time at Oklahoma Christian, many good people much smarter and much more loving than me have shown me the power of my speech and the value of my words.
Ephesians says that we should only use speech that “is good for building up” with “no filthiness or crude joking.”
I challenge you to honestly ask yourself: what are my words worth? Are you compromising their value by wasting them on petty arguments, distasteful language or destructive comments?
Whether you use 7,000 words or 20,000 words, your speech makes an impact on everyone who hears it. Yes, even the naïve freshman with lofty expectations.