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When Words Are Worth Nothing

What do we say when words are worth nothing? Words meant something at one time, when they were rare, like gold. Now that the market is flooded, at every street corner and wide intersection you’ll find people throwing words out carelessly. As a result, we’ve stopped paying much attention to words. For a while we turned our attention to images until they, too, became cheap. Now 12-year-old cynics walk listlessly through the malls and on the sidewalks looking for any kind of fix, something fresh for consumption.

What becomes of all that we chew up and spit out? What do we do with an endless supply of canceled situation comedies, desperate media personalities, the 15-minute famous and long-winded editorial writers? We have our own cultural landfills, of course—places where spirits go to die slowly. The lucky get resurrected in reruns and reprints and occasionally on fashion runways where the past is stolen from on a seasonal basis. We’d be horrified at the sheer senselessness of the machine, except that we’ve been horrified before, and the first time was a lot better.

So we end up running on and on and on; running to find some new something to inspire us again. But we don’t realize that we, ourselves, get used up in the process of our running. So used up, in fact, that we eventually find that we’re more container than content, a nice facade with very little underneath. And that’s when devils do their best work. They find our defenses down and our places empty.

The devils waste no time moving in, redecorating with their furniture of fear and their distorted looking glasses of pride; they imprison us in a life of diminishing returns. And in the middle of all the devils’ demolition, we get so consumed with the endless racket that we can barely hear anything else.

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So what do we say when words are so cheap and devils run rampant through our crumbling ramparts? We’re best off when we say nothing for a while. We’re best off when we say nothing and wait. And wait. And we don’t wait for the next big thing, or for the new fall line or for our name suddenly to appear in lights, but we wait for a gentle knocking at our door. We wait for the only one who can rebuild our downed defenses and repair our compromised quarters. We wait for the one who can give all things worth again, we wait for Jesus; for wisdom personified.

In our silence, of course, Jesus will heal us, will sweep out devils and fill us with His presence. And the silence itself will add heft to our words, so that when we do speak again, our words will be weighty, worthy.

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