The people of Judah and the citizens of Jerusalem said, “Come, let us contrive a plot against Jeremiah…And so, let us destroy him by his own tongue; let us carefully note his every word.”
Jeremiah’s passage reminds me of the power of words. When the people of Judah and the citizens of Jerusalem decide to plot against Jeremiah they choose to “destroy him by his own tongue” and the approach they take is to “carefully note his every word.” As an educator in our academic community, I use words all the time—in the classroom, in my course syllabi, in the feedback I give on written work, along with those I say during casual conversations, in committee meetings and use in emails. In each of these venues my words impact those who are my current audience, my listeners. Am I carefully attending to every word that comes forth? How often do my words mean the exact same thing to my listeners? Jeremiah’s passage calls for each of us to be watchful and vigilant, for the words we use may not always resonate with others as we intend.
Cathy Andrews ,
Professor Emerita, School of Nursing
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