Making it Clear

18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love.

  – I John 4:18
We should not write so that it is possible for the reader to understand us, but so that it is impossible for him to misunderstand us.
 – Quintilian (Marcus Fabius Quintilianus),
   rhetorician (c. 35-100)
I love building my vocabulary.  I subscribe to Word a Day,  and endeavor to use new words in my writing regularly.  When someone uses a word I do not know, I write it down and look it up.  Several of my pastors and favorite teachers have been some of my best sources for books I need to read and words I need to learn.  What I have loved about each and every one of them is that they wanted us to understand.
I have also encountered those who speak in big words to demonstrate their knowledge.  I respect them as well.  I used to just be quiet if I did not understand, thinking that I must be stupid or they assume I should know. 
 But I found that to be very unsatisfactory. And, unsurprisingly, it lead to ill feelings; about myself, about the speaker.  Now I either write it down, or it is not too time consuming, pause the conversation and ask.  Many years ago, my friend John gave a sermon on big words and just how many Jesus used.  The point of his sermon was that Jesus wanted to be understood.  He planted seeds of knowledge, questioning, change,  with words that were common and easy to understand.  He did not talk down to his audiences, he simply told stories and made statements that left it up to the listener to understand, not run to the local scrollery to pick up the latest “dictionary” to leave rolled up under a tunic. 
Today, speak from your heart and look to the Lord for the right words. If you tend to speak very fast, slow down a bit so that you do not create a mondegreen (!) (ie; Our Father, who art in heaven harold be thy name…)
Because of Him,

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February 22, 2013 · 11:23 am

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