My granddaughter, Lilli, introduced me to a children’s cartoon called Martha Speaks. I haven’t seen any children’s TV that I’ve liked in a long time, until Martha the talking dog entered my life. Long concerned about the dumbing-down of the English language, I’m thrilled to see this dog, who ate alphabet soup, share his new-found words, and their meanings, with all the little viewers.

I’ve written about words before. I love them. Our interaction with others depends on them, and the words we choose make all the difference in the quality of relationship we have. You can explain and apologize away some bad word choices, but you can’t ever erase them. Their effect can last all a person’s life, even if they just came out of one bad day for you.

Perhaps it’s a matter of what we consistently put IN our hearts and minds that makes a difference in what comes out. Maybe that’s how we protect those we love and build better relationships. After all, it worked for Martha. All she did was bark at everyone until she switched her kibble to alphabet soup.

Now she builds relationships with everyone through well-chosen words. We can, too, if we change our “diets” (and maybe throw in bigger words every now and then…that dumbed-down mess is some pretty thin soup).

“Words kill, words give life;
they’re either poison or fruit—you choose.” Proverbs 18:21 MSG

“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” Ephesians 4:29 ESV

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Philippians 4:8 NIV