Today’s post was inspired by a devotion I received called “The Power Of Words”.
Like a neutron bomb which annihilates human life but leaves buildings intact, words can devastate. Your body may remain unharmed, but your heart suffers the deadly shrapnel of painful phrases. David, who knew a thing or two about having enemies in high places, wrote that evildoers “sharpen their tongues like swords and aim cruel words like deadly arrows” (Psalm 64:3). Whether you’re eighteen or eighty, you can probably recall the pain of someone’s harsh words scalding your soul.
Maybe you still hear the message from years ago, playing an endless loop in your mind, echoing inside you every day.
“You’ll never amount to anything.”
“I wish I never had you.”
“You’re nothing like your brother.”
“I’m sick of you.”
“I never loved you.”
“You’ll never change.”
As devastating as these words can be, they can be offset by words of truth, hope, and love. The right words at the right time can be helpful, healing, and life-transforming.
Proverbs 18:21 says, “The tongue has the power of life and death.” What you say can give life to you and to other people, or it can take life away.
Words are powerful beyond imagination. Think about it. When God created the world, how did he do it? He spoke. God said, “Let there be…” and there was. Words have power. In so many fairy tales, legends, and myths, it’s the power of a spoken spell, incantation, or magic phrase that can either cause destruction or restore harmony.
OK, so with all that said – what are we saying to one another? How do we speak to our spouse or significant other? To our children? To our friends?
Are we criticizing & then excusing it away because “they need to hear it” or “they need to know how stupid they are being right now” ?
I think controlling people are the most critical. I should know because I used to be one. It was an exhausting 24/7 job to make sure all was right in my universe. Because if I didn’t keep a watchful eye on everything & everyone I held dear, then surely it would all just fall apart, right in front of me. And I knew I could not bear it nor would I ever survive such a thing.
But it did anyway. The very things I feared the most & tried to shield myself from swallowed my little world up. And I survived. Hallelujah.
I am not blaming myself for what imploded around me – though I know I played a part in it all in varying degrees. I own that. And I have learned the greatest life lessons to date from it.
I have learned to let go of controlling anything but myself. And that alone is absolutely debatable apart from God’s grace. Looking back in 20/20 hind-sight, I see clear that anything else I attempted to have dominion over was an exercise in absolute futility. Life did not move this way or that because I willed it or tried to manipulate it to. Nope.
I have learned to tread softly in the lives of those in my sphere of influence. To let people be who they are & figure out their own stuff. If I am asked for advice, I will give it – careful to reiterate this is just an opinion- that they have to figure things out for themselves apart from anything I or anyone else says. And whatever I may share unsolicited, I try to do it with encouragement, not judgment. Sometimes I feel myself getting worked up & that is normally my queue to back-it-down-a-little-sista – reminding myself I am certainly not the know-all that ends-all. Even if I am 100% sure of something, in my finite understanding.
Maybe I am perceived by some as soft or too nice – & that’s ok. I can live with that. But I can actually be quite the opposite. Fighter-Bonnie is still in there. She is. But the only One who sees her much anymore is God. I will tell you this – when I need it most, He is a safe place to run & scream & go to war. And cuss (yep sometimes I do) & cry & kick & squirm, vent & lament till I collapse in surrender or plain ol’ exhaustion.
It’s there in that secret place where I find my help. He is The Great Shock Absorber. He is where I am not judged or condemned or lambasted. In exchange for all the ugly, I am embraced & loved & lifted to a better place when my rants subside. And that reaction makes me want to be better when I rise. Duly noted Lord.
Let’s all determine to be courageous enough to stop lashing out & tearing down. To turning & being a safe place for those who surround us.
Much love & spoken words that bring life,