Gracious words are like honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body. Proverbs 16:24
Growing up, I recall the saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never harm me.” This was often quoted when kids would say mean things to each other as a way to show that their harsh words have no effect.
Boy, that couldn’t be farther from the truth. The older I get, the more I have learned that our words hold great power behind them. Our words can either be a fountain or a drain. We can use them to build up or tear down. They have a way of wedging themselves in a nook of our heart, as a constant reminder of good or bad. It seems like the bad always take root more deeply than the good. We can often recall a conversation that was said to us and replay it over and over, and before long it will have us convinced that it is the truth. Do we realize the influence of our spoken words? It is said that the tongue is the hardest muscle to control and I believe it. When our emotions get high, and tempers get ignited, it is easy to spew out daggers towards others. Once spoken, there is no taking it back. It is like my mom use to say, “Words are like toothpaste, once they come out, you can’t get them back in.” Yes, we can apologize, but it doesn’t erase what has been said. And in a world of social media and texting, once you type those words and hit send, they are out there forever. There is no delete button. Sure you can delete it from your side, but you have no control of how far it will reach on the receiving end.
We were having a good night at home one evening when all it took was a few ill spoken words to totally turn everyone’s mood upside down. When we are tired, hungry (hangry as some call it), don’t feel good, or have just had a bad day, we are more likely to let negativity roll right out of our mouths without a second thought to the consequences. That evening when everyone’s attitude had turned sour, we all just separated. The next morning, the dark cloud from the previous night was still lingering. I thought to myself, today is a new day, a clean slate, so make it a good one. Don’t let yesterday’s troubles creep into today. It made me think about how much impact our words have and the effects that ripple out. How just one or two negative words can put a damper on a whole day and affect all those around. There is no expiration date on the hurt caused by the careless words that we speak.
I think it is safe to say we have all been careless with our speech. Honestly, it is a daily struggle for me. Whether it is to others or ourselves. I have had to apologize multiple times to those around me for things I have said. But what about those I say to myself? That is where it hits the hardest. I can really be mean to the one staring back at me in the mirror.
“I am a failure.”
“I am stupid.”
“I can’t do anything right.”
“I am a bad mom.”
“I am ugly.”
Truth is, several years ago, mentally I was in a bad place. I did not like who I was and I made it clear. God spoke to my heart and made me realize when I say those words to myself, I am also saying them to him. He created me. He created you. We are his workmanship. He gave his life, so that we may live. By digging into God’s word and spending time in prayer, I started to see myself through my creator’s eyes. Yes, I am flawed and imperfect ,but I am also wonderfully and fearfully made. I was made for a purpose and so are you.
Because of Christ, we are loved. We are enough. We are forgiven.
May we each do a better job of choosing our words wisely. Using them to build up and encourage one another. Just because we think it does not mean we should speak it. Just because we disagree with it, does not mean we have to respond to it. There are times when we will have a more positive impact if we just remain silent. Let’s not forget that this doesn’t just apply to the people around you, more importantly, speak positive and uplifting thoughts to yourself. If you speak unkind words to yourself, you will start to believe that is who you are and it will eventually come out in your actions. If you speak words of grace and truth to yourself, it will give you strength to move forward and have a more positive impact. You will be free to live out the life God would have you to. To serve others in your circle and your community. To let your light shine, so those around you will see Jesus.
Keep moving forward,