Four-Letter Words

A quick internet search tells me that there are about 149,000 English 4-letter words. The Official Scrabble Dictionary allows about 4,000 of them. I think we may have a problem with our everyday language. Why does it seem to take weeks and weeks to teach a child to say, “please and thank you,” or “Yes, ma’am, or No, sir,” and only one time for a misplaced ugly word to be instantly memorized and endlessly utilized by that same child?  This is not a new problem. It is well past time to upgrade our use of the four-letter word. 

A few decades ago, after completing the macramé phase of my life, I turned to a pastime of cross-stitch, with an occasional venture into needlepoint. After all, you can only make so many hanging flowerpot holders for all of your friends and relatives. New friends and more relatives were gifted with my artistic pictures, sayings, and Christmas stitchery. Some were graciously received. I stitched one piece that not only turned out well but spoke fittingly to me. It is a 24” by 10” framed piece that hangs in my office over the area I reserve for conversations and counsel. It is about four-letter words. The words are colorfully stitched and subtly illustrate their subject.  (I have had to reformat their appearance to fit this printed column.)

“Four Letter Words that Change the World”

Love. Hope. Care. Help.

Heal. Work. Play. Feel.

Duty. Home. Good. Kind.

Pity. Rest. Seek. Pray. Live.


It reminds me of the biblical admonition: A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver. Proverbs 25:11

Keep healthy. Pray mightily. Enjoy your life today. Speak true and holy. And let’s experience the love and power of God together.

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