Talk no more so very proudly, let not arrogance come from your mouth; for the Lord is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed. – 1 Samuel 2:3
Words have tremendous power, for good or ill…to hurt or heal. Whether hurtful or healing, however, I’m constantly humbled by the inadequacy of language to speak the ineffable truth of God’s knowledge. I suppose that’s why that even with all the greats of English literature to inspire me, I find myself turning instead to a Persian poet from the 13th century, Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī, when I ponder the bittersweet failure of language in our effort to apprehend God’s presence. As Rumi put it:
Both mourn, the angels, the prophets, and this sadness I feel has taken from me the taste of language, so that I cannot say the flavor of my being apart. Speak with the language of love. This is how it always is when I finish a poem. A great silence overcomes me, and I wonder why I ever thought to use language.
Lord, please keep us mindful of what our words say about us. Are we being prideful or arrogant? Are we recognizing the power our words may have over others? Let our language be infused with your grace and communicate your love.