What do you think of when you here the word, “aloha?”
Maybe you think white sandy beaches, palm trees, and a warm sea breeze. Or maybe you think of friendly greetings. When hearing the word myself, I often cherish thoughts of friendships I hold close of those I know who hale from the great state of Hawaii. But whatever you tend to think, I am sure it is a word of warmth in one way or another to each of us.
The prefix, alo, means “presence” or “face,” while the suffix, ha, means “breath of life.” Combined, this simple word takes on a humble state and purpose. It becomes a state of being. A heartfelt feeling. In fact, did you know that Hawaii actually has an aloha law? As an islander, you are to live life in an aloha state of mind. Whether you are at work, driving to the beach, or in the grocery store, Hawaiians are to live life peacefully and courteously. In essence, the word has engrained itself as the foundation of an entire culture. It is a word of influence and power.
Do you know of additional words that have had a similar influence or possibly even a greater impact? Do the words we use as individuals have an impact? An impact on our family? Our friends? Our society?
I am sure you can recount the story of creation. Genesis is clear, in the first few sentences, as to how the world was formed. “God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light” (Genesis 1:3). Each day, God spoke that, which wasn’t, into existence. By a simple word he commanded nothing to become something. Furthermore,”…he upholds the universe by the word of his power,” (Hebrews 1:3, emphasis added). God’s word is the breath and sustaining power of existence!
Judging from this, I think it is reasonable to argue that Scripture clearly emphasizes that words, God’s words, are power. And as imitators of the Word, implications would suggest our words do exhibit some sort of influence or power.
It’s Proverbs 18:21 that says, “the tongue has the power of life and death.” The words we choose have implications. Think back on the moments you have spent talking with a family member, a coworker, or friend. You can most likely recall words that have been used to destroy – words of death. On the flip-side, you can probably remember words of encouragement that have been shared with you – words of light. Either way it is “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks,” (Matthew 12:34).
And it is with this, that I am challenged. I know my heart is filthy. I know that I need to work on this area in my life. I am by no means perfect. My humanity reminds me of this reality everyday. But the Spirit convicts me that I have been given the power to overcome my fleshly default of speaking murderous words.
As you consider my words, answer me this: what did God ultimately save us from? Moreover, what did he save us for?
This week, you and I will have hundreds of conversations. Are we going to choose to use words that breath life? It is my prayer that we will.