I am bilingual: English and Arabic. As a kid in Lebanon, I learned both languages simultaneously. By osmosis, I learned which language to use where and with whom. But in the loose boundaries of our hospitality driven home and family, both languages were used at the same time, even in the same sentences. For as all bilinguists from birth can attest, some things are better expressed in one language or another!
It’s a funny thing when my husband and I were first dating, a common laughing trigger was our idiosyncratic uses of Arabic words. For you see, he grew up in Jordan. His words and phrases were laced with dialect, accent, and cultural nuances that were different from my Lebanese words describing the same idea, even though we were both speaking Arabic. Any Middle Easterner who hears us communicating in Arabic immediately clues in that I’m from Lebanon and he’s from Jordan.
Language is the key descriptor that identifies a person. Whether just a regional dialect of the same country’s language or the specific tones of various languages, a person’s words pinpoint the heartland of the speaker.
I would like to think that as a Christian when I speak, others recognize my heartland language and therefore, recognize to whom I belong. Language carries some essential ingredients of my character and purpose. In the Old Testament, the idea of the “word of the Lord” exemplified a unique person who shared the very being of God. As a Christian, I want to embody the word of God. Therefore, it is His language of joy, peace, strength, loving-kindness, and patience which I hope identifies me.
Reclaim your hope! The righteous, social justice character of God “will show itself victorious.” His word spoken through you not only identifies you but permeates the space within which you walk every day.
Can others identify to whom you belong because of your spoken word?
But what does it say? The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart. That is the word of faith that we preach.