Every Word Has Its Place

“Every word is alive and is at home in a certain place. The word in the family is different from the word in the office or in public. The word that is born in the warmth of personal relationship freezes in the cold air of the public. The word of command, which comes out of public service, would cut the bonds of trust in the family. Every word is supposed to have its place and stay in it. As a consequence of the spread of the public word in newspapers and radio, the nature and boundaries of various words are no longer felt clearly, and indeed the special character of the personal word has been almost destroyed. In place of genuine words, we now have chatter. Words no longer have any weight. There is too much talk. When the boundaries of various words are erased, however, when words become rootless and homeless, then the word loses truth, and this almost necessarily gives rise to the lie. When the various conventions of life are no longer mutually observed, then words become untrue.”

— I Want to Live These Days with You: A Year of Daily Devotions by Dietrich Bonhoeffer


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