“Verba Volant, Scripta Manent”



Most of us have heard this expression in a more modern version: “Spoken words are like the air, written words are forever there.” Either way, the expression gives us something to reflect on. Those of us who have the privilege of writing in the public arena should think about the effect our words will have on those reading them.

Whether we are writing to educate, inform, entertain or just express our opinion, our words will have an influence on others. Proverbs 18:21 says: “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” I view the pen (or the keyboard) as an extension of our tongue. We are either bringing something negative (death) to our readers or we are bringing something positive (life) to those who read our words.

I consider this a heavy responsibility. Our followers live in many different countries and are of different ages. We have no idea what their living conditions are and what they are going through at the time they read the things we write. We need to be thoughtful about what we post on our blogs and on others’ blogs as well.

Have you ever Googled your name? If you do, you will be surprised to see your comments on the internet for everyone to see. When people read those comments they will get to know a little bit about you and who you are. Now, in the age of the internet, this expression is even more true…”our words are forever there.” Who knows who will be reading them in the future…prospective employers or possibly committee members who will be deciding on scholarships, grants, fellowships or that doctoral program you have been wanting to get accepted in to?

I have read several blog posts where the writers use profanity to make a point or just express their feelings. Although it may seem appropriate at the time, as writers we need to think about how we will feel in a few years when we go back and reread our posts. Are there any other words we could use that will get that same point across as well?

As someone who has lived several decades, there have been plenty of times when I have said things I regret. I’m glad they weren’t written down for all the world to read. At this point in my life, I don’t want to be writing things that I cannot take back and that will remain forever on the internet. How about you?

29 thoughts on ““Verba Volant, Scripta Manent”

  1. the written word always attracted me. both in literature and in journalism, the profession I followed. however, I always filter the texts I read. I confess that I run away from the “justified context”. I believe that good text does not need aggressive or offensive words. for obvious that fiction sometimes requires, but it is another situation. as a journalist, I have always been guided by ethics, responsibility, knowing all sides that involve a subject, and profound revision of the text. in internet times, I sign everything you wrote.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Val, I have always believed that the pen is mightier than the sword.
    That is why we need to be mindful of our written thoughts after all they are there for posterity. How will that reflect of us?
    So good that you put this out there, it is certainly food for thought for many.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. This is such a good reminder. I try to pray before typing anything! Also I love the story about the woman who went to a priest to confess her gossiping. He told her to release a bag of feathers into the wind. She did so and went back to report her success. He said “Good work. Now go gather them back up.” She said that would be impossible, and he reminded her that our words are the same. Once we have released them to the wind they cannot be gathered back up again.

    Liked by 2 people

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