Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Tuesday Think - Words

So, I was thinking, which is something I do occasionally - but generally only on Tuesdays, which is why I have planned a weekly post called The Tuesday Think (Triple T, if you will) - and was pensing (notice that sneaky Franglish/Engcais?) about the way we often say one thing and other people hear something totally different. I'm not talking about selective hearing (no, Mum, I never heard you ask me to clean my room 63 times!) I mean genuinely mishearing or misunderstanding what people say.
For example, someone was telling me a story today about a "mare" (female horse), but I heard "mayor"! I didn't particularly realise my mishearing at first as I heard about the "mayor" getting her hair braided, but as the story progressed I grew confused beyond comprehension - especially when it came to the "mayor" being ridden in a show! Let's not even go there... *shudder*
But you catch my drift, right? We often hear things totally wrong (wrong on more than one level sometimes, too...) and maybe we don't even necessarily realise our mistake at the time. I know the storyteller never intended me to think the mane character (pardon the pun) was a human instead of a horse, but I did...
Likewise, we sometimes say things and don't realise what other people hear, or think. And sometimes it's not even about hearing a particular word or phrase incorrectly, it's way more. We often misinterpret the meaning of what someone is saying, or take offense at something that was supposed to be harmless. This deeper side of the 'what-I-say vs. what-you-hear' issue I'm trying to touch on is one that has megaly been hitting me lately.
I often joke around with my mates, calling them "idiot", yelling "I hate you" when they beat me at cards, etc., greeting them with a hearty "hey ugly" and such. Of course, I absolutely do NOT mean any of it - I love my friends crazy heaps! - and I know they know I don't mean it, but I've realised this kind of thing can still be dangerous. People I know less may think I was serious if I said they were crazy, in my deadpan tone.
Still perpetually puzzled?
I guess I'm just trying to get across the fact that words have power. Massive, hugemongoose, supernova power. The Bible says they have the power of life and death, in fact. (As Murray Hewitt once said, "You could die. Or even just be ridiculed.") They're serious, mate, serious. We so often reduce words to mere playthings, but they're weapons. Just like we've got to handle swords with care, we have to use words properly. (Ha, just noticed 'swords' is 'words' with an 's' in front! I don't think that's coincidence.) Remember, I'm totally not saying don't joke around and have fun - please don't get me wrong, I love humour and sarcasm with a passion - but I am gently warning you to watch what you say. You never know who might overhear you, or what someone might think of a comment made in haste, so just try to ensure that you'll never have to apologise to anyone for a misunderstanding - or even for something intentional. Deliberately saying something cruel or in bad taste to someone else is a whole 'nother can-a-worms, but you get the jist. Try to speak as if Jesus could hear eveything you say - 'cause He can, of course.
Yeah, this is definitely more of a lesson for outspoken, reckless me than any of you who may or not read this blog, but I felt like I should share it, so I did.
Thanks (and sorry for going all serious/preacher on ya there...)


  1. Hey Aussie, thanks for 'following' my blog! I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. Looks like you're just getting started here. I'll be checking back to read more. Feel free to drop by and introduce yourself to all of us with a comment. God bless and happy blogging!

  2. Hey Matt! Thanks heaps for stopping by. Yep, I'm just a baby blogger - got any tips for me? Thanks again and God bless you too.

  3. I want to thank you for following my blog too. And for making me picture my mayor being ridden in a show with braided hair. That picture in my head should really help me sit through his press conferences on television more pleasantly.
    You are right about words having power. Maybe after calling someone crazy, you could add "THAT's one of the things I love about you." I wouldn't go with the same thing when calling someone ugly, though.

  4. Hey Helen! Thanks for visiting, and no worries. You're another one of my blogger heroes, so anything I can do to help... God bless.

  5. I threaten peoples' lives all the time. It's not good, because THAT really can be misperceived. It's how I show affection though, so what's a guy to do? So unfortunate!!

  6. JML - thanks for commenting! Mm, good point, I do too. Again, I'm totally not saying don't joke around with your mates and all that - it's all good - but yeah, I know what you mean. It can be a fine line. Just something to pray about, I 'spose. Thanks again.

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