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May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you. Psalm 19:14 NLT

Sometimes, the right word is important.

On a trip to a popular restaurant, I was reminded of how important words are. My wife and I — along with many others — mulled about waiting for the hostess to call our name. We listened as she called one name after another.

“Jones, party of six, your table is ready,” the hostess announced.

“Estes, party of four, you are next to be sat.”

As a grammar teacher — as well as an editor for several websites — the mistake grated on my nerves like fingernails on a chalkboard. Before I could get the correct form of the word out of my mouth, another customer said, “seated.” We both had a good laugh. I suppose he was a fan of proper grammar as well. Whether anyone called the mistake to the hostess’s attention, I’m not sure.

The psalmist wanted God to accept his words and the thoughts of his heart. I think God is a fan of proper communication as well since He wants to make sure we understand what He has communicated to us. What good would it have done for Him to have given us words and sentences we couldn’t understand. How would we ever have comprehended and gone to Him?

I do know God wants us to speak proper words and think proper thoughts. In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus reminded the listeners who claimed to follow Him that they were the salt of the earth. And the right word has a way of seasoning other people’s lives and circumstances as salt does food.

As an editor, I make sure my words — and the words of others whose work I edit — are grammatically correct. In the writing world, this is important. Poor penmanship and incorrect grammar are sure ways to keep others away from a website — or from reading a book, a short story, or an article. My job is to make other writers and authors look and sound good.

God wants us to speak His love right also. We can use proper grammar and still not speak profitable things. We can speak discouragement, fear, anxiety, vulgarity, unkindness, hate and worry into others’ lives — and with proper grammar. At the same time, we can use poor grammar and speak encouragement, comfort, kindness, love and peace into others’ lives. Grammar isn’t the issue — our hearts are. That’s why the psalmist included it in his request of the Lord.

While good grammar is important, what we speak into others’ lives is more so. Let your words season others’ lives by pointing them to a Savior who is filled with love for everyone. Then love them with your words and actions.

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Martin Wiles is managing editor of "Christian Devotions;" assistant editor, Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas; and author of "Grits, Gumbo and Going to Church" and "Grits & Grace & God." Visit Wiles' website, "Love Lines from God."

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