Words are so very powerful. We know that they can hurt, heal, hinder, harass…I really can’t think of any more H words! 🙂 The old saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never harm me” sounds good but it is the farthest thing from the truth.
When I was a kid, I was a tomboy and always, always had cuts and bruises all over me. Bike wrecks, cowboy stunt moves, volleyball dives, thorns and briers from hikes in the woods, scuffles with siblings…something had always left its mark on my body. Do you know that I do not remember the pain of any of those physical scars? I remember the incidents, but I don’t remember the pain. In contrast, I remember hurtful things that people have said over the years and you immediately feel the stab in your heart and you can feel the pain all over again. The pain is especially hurtful if it comes from someone who says they love you.
Words are something that you can never blame on someone else. The phrases, “The devil made me do it,” “I can’t help it, they just made me SOOOO mad!,” “Well, if you hadn’t of started it…,” “It’s my personality. It is just who I am. Deal with it,” are so FULL of baloney. Someone may break your arm by pulling it behind your back, but no one has every invented a way to pull words out of someone’s mouth without permission. We are 100% in total charge of our words. No more excuses about it.
With that being said, our words should have weight. They should have value. They should have meaning. They should be respected. They should be kind. They should be encouraging. Even if a hard thing has to be said, it should not be done harshly. Our words should speak life to other humans – whether we agree with them or not. I often tell my children, “It is not what you are saying to me. It is how you are saying it. Start over and do it right.” Do they always get it right? No. Do I? No. But I would hope that my pattern is not one of thoughtless, hurtful, selfish and showing a lack of compassion or concern.
If those who know you best, are asked about the pattern of your words, what would they say? Would they say that you are a hypocrite and they do not receive the kind words you always have for others? Would they say that you speak one way and live another? Would they say that you rip up and criticize and destroy everyone around you? Would they say that you tell the truth? Do you make promises you don’t keep? Are your words hateful? Grouchy? Short-fused? Negative?
It is easy in a world where people only see the superficial, to give any appearance I want. This is one reason we all get annoyed with politics. Everything looks so good…until the dirt follows! I don’t know about you, but I don’t want any dirt to follow in my life.
Our words will either speak life, or they will speak death.
They can either build up and strengthen your relationships, or they will kill off and destroy your relationships. Our loved ones know it the best – no matter what show we give to others, or excuses we like to embrace.
These past couple weeks, have been a living lesson to the power of words. Words uttered in anger, words uttered in haste, words uttered without any regard to the feelings of those you speak them to…have long-lasting, negative consequences. As the speaker of words, that we alone are responsible for, we do not like the consequences. Yet, consequences ARE out of our control. Once you say it, it is very, very hard to take it back.
I want to speak life. I want to bring smiles. I want to help guide truth with loving words. I want to use my words not as a sword to kill something off a little bit more inside those around me, but as a salve to help soothe and heal. And, if in those moments, I feel that I just will not be able to control my words, I will remember that is a big lie and I need to just put my hand over my mouth or remove myself from the situation.
May God help us all to speak life, and not death, with our words.
Important Note – If you have someone in your life that is mean with their words, I would recommend that remove yourself from their presence. If they will not stop when you ask them, then go to another location yourself. It is not “spiritual” to have to listen to them yell, accuse or insult you or your children. You do not have to answer or be pulled in. This is VERY hard to do, but it is very important.
Also, I would highly recommend the writings of Leslie Vernick and David Cloud and John Townsend. They have written several books about emotional abuse and boundaries in relationships. I have read, been helped and highly recommend these authors.