Do You TAWK funny?

I used to PAHK the CAH.

A Yankee transplant, I tawked funny. Remember, I was plucked from the rocky shores of Narragansett Bay in Rhode Island and plunked into the sandhills of Columbia, South Carolina. Every time I opened my mouth, people knew I was “not from around here.” No doubt about it, I tawked funny. 

A soft-spoken woman with a gentle smiled shared a prayer request in Sunday school, and I knew she wasn’t from around here either. Here speech was lyrical and delightfully different. I found out later she had moved to this army town from Europe as a bride. 

My daughter recently took a dialect test. Using a series of questions, it pinpointed which region of the country her speech most resembled. Despite the fact that she’s lived in the South all her life, her dialect strongly reflected the language of New Englanders. This comes as no surprise since I am her mom and was her homeschool teacher. 

Whether we’ve lived in the same town all our lives or moved 20+ times, our speech should tell people that we’re not from around here. 

Peter and John were good examples of this. Although they had never left their hometown, religious leaders immediately detected something different in their speech. “Salvation is found in no one else,” Peter proclaimed, “for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” 

“Unschooled and ordinary,” Peter and John had nothing within themselves to draw people to Christ. No seminary degree. No charisma or polish. No eloquence or advance speaker training. But people knew where they’d been and who had been their primary influence. “When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men,” Acts 4:13 reports, “they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.” 

I’ve noticed on days when I take time to be with Jesus, my speech is more likely to reflect his nature. Although not foolproof, filling my mind and heart with his thoughts through Bible reading and prayer better enables me to speak words that are kind, true, edifying, and full of grace. 

Jesus said in Luke 6:45, “The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.” 

Being with Jesus is the best way to fill my heart with good things. Then, when my heart overflows, what splashes out is a blessing to others. “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen” (Eph. 4:29). 

Can people tell from our speech that we’ve been with Jesus? If not, perhaps we need to spend a little more time with him. 

What about you? I’d love to know what helps you honor God with your speech. Leave a comment below and share your thoughts.

If you enjoyed this post, you might like, "What Comes Out When You Are Squeezed?" and "Does EVERYTHING have to be about God?"



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  1. Well said (with whatever accent you "write" :) Love writing that has an entertaining element while making me think and reflect on my walk with Jesus. Thank you, Lori!

  2. I so want God to be more in the centre of my words. It's true that the tongue is hard to tame.
    Thanks for sharing at Essential Fridays.
    Mel from Essential Thing Devotions and Connect With God

  3. Anonymous3:11 PM

    Can people tell from our speech that we've been with Jesus? Fabulous question. Convicting to me too because I know when my speech is slipping into the area of not honoring God. Enjoyed your post today.

  4. You had me hooked with the first paragraph; I am so guilty of being a speech snob. Not of peoples grammar but it doesn't take but a word or two for me to tell..they ain't from around here. As I read on to the meat of your post, your words where ringing loud and much truth.

  5. Wow! This is a good word. I am stopping by from We were blessed to link up after you over at "Hear it On Sunday; Use it on Monday."

  6. I can identify...when I have NOT spent enough time with Jesus my New Yawk accent and attitude are worse!

  7. Having just been plunked in FL from our beloved New England, people can definitely tell that I'm "not from around these parts" either! :) Good post

  8. Oooh! What a good analogy, Lori. And I'm not sure that what comes out of my mouth all the time tells people that I've been with God. I want that. I'd love to have that be what others say about me. But I'm sure that my family will tell you that it's not always the case. Thanks for this very convicting challenge. And by the way, I hope you never lose your accent. I think that's great that you stick out among all those southerners. I bet they think so too. :)

  9. What a good illustration. Like your daughter, tourist in Hawaii when I as 18 asked if I was from New York. I didn't grow up there but my parents had. I love how it will show that we have been with Jesus by how we talk.

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  11. Should be Luke 6:45, 😉