Neuroscientists are making some headway turning people’s thoughts into speech. There have been over 100 brain-imaging studies this past decade that are focused on speech-processing. According to an article in USA Today (February 1, 2012), a recent one used a kind of wiretapping to translate brain electrical signals into some single words that can be heard by the patients. Apparently, they can do it with some 89% accuracy.
The goal is to aid patients who have suffered strokes or struggle with epilepsy. The doctors remarked, “The real advance is that it shows we are closing in on the code that the brain uses to give meaning to words.”
I got to thinking about “the code that gives meaning to words.” Way too often, that “code” prompts me to say things that I wish I had not. My “tongue” as the Bible would refer to it, gets me into trouble. I simply don’t weigh out my speech like I should.
So to give that problem some attention, I recently gave a devotion (to me first and then to others) entitled, “Each Word a Gift.” I reminded everyone that Proverbs 18:21 tells us that the tongue has the power of life and death. It can encourage or destroy the flow of someone’s day.
And I shared Ephesians 4:29 as it is written in The Message: “Watch the way you talk. Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth. Say only what helps, each word a gift.”
I am sure that we all need to consider how to make each word that comes out of our mouth a gift to someone else. Often it is easier to give those kinds of gifts to complete strangers, so maybe this week we ought to focus on those we are closest with.
Let’s ask the question, “How can I encourage my spouse or children? “How can I give a ‘gift’ of words to my parents or co-workers?” What words would uplift my siblings?”
As we all contemplate that task, let’s get real practical. Could we meet them face to face and share some meaningful thoughts of grace? Could we memorialize those thoughts by writing them down? Or with our smart phones in hand, how about a self-video that records us expressing warm personal encouragements? There is not a twenty year old out there that won’t laugh at a parent doing a self-video!
Maybe, we should make it silly. For example, buy a birthday card with a sentiment for a young nephew and send it to your boss. It will get his attention and your encouraging words will have a humorous context.
However we do it…let’s make sure this week that every word that comes out of our brain is a gift!
By His Grace and for His Glory,
Sherry L. Worel