There are only 26 letters in the English language. These letters put together can do amazing things! They also have the ability to break a person. The old saying "sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me isn't necessarily true. Ask any child who has ever been told they won't amount to anything or that they are stupid and they can tell you about the emotional scars left by words. Words can lift you up or tear you down. Words can make you feel beautiful or ugly. Words can make or break you.
In elementary school Becky Russell told me I had pointy elbows and trust me when I say it was not a compliment. I am now 37 and I am still very aware of my pointy elbows. Not one other person in all those years has ever said anything good or bad about my elbows, yet the scars and embarrassment Becky caused me that day in the lunch room has stuck with me for years. If I were to see her today she more than likely would have no idea who I even was.
This weekend I went to the Encounter with my church which is a ladies weekend retreat. One of the speakers said "If the words you have spoken this weekend were to pop up above your head in a little box would they be words that speak life or filled with poison? Such a great analogy! We all say things we don't mean sometimes or at least I hope I am not the only one who has spoken in anger before. Do I wish I could say I have been perfect and I have never raised my voice and spoken to my kids or husband with harsh words? Heck yea I do! I am human and I make mistakes. Let's take a look at the power words actually have when we use them.
Words have the power to bring unmeasurable joy! The first time your baby says momma or dada! Need I say more? Such happiness over such tiny words. The first time you hear I love you from your significant other or when they whisper sweet nothings in your ear. The compliments from a friend or even better a stranger! The news of a baby, or that you got the job you wanted, the words "Will you marry me?" All of these bring joy beyond belief!
Words have the power to bring sadness and hurt. Words like cancer, death, and miscarriage can bring on a crippling amount of sorrow. The moment when your child says "I don't want to hold your hand anymore" or " please drop me off here so my friends don't see me with you." Phrases like "You did not get accepted" or "you have not been approved". Unimaginable hurt can come from the words "I don't love you anymore", "I hate you", "I want a divorce", or " I have met someone else".
Words can bring on love and confidence. When you hear "I love you! You are awesome!" Things like "I am so proud of you!" "You are beautiful and funny and wonderful!" "I can't wait to see you!" "I have missed your face!" " You are a great mother, friend, person, wife, husband, or child." Words like "I love you no matter what."
Words can bring on anger and self doubt. "You will never amount to anything", You're just like your father/mother and he/she was good for nothing!", "I wish you were more like your sister/brother", "You must be stupid to not have known that", or "What's the matter with you!". Words like hate, idiot, loser, ugly, pathetic, stupid, fat, wimp, are just a few of the words people say on a daily basis that can cause everlasting emotional scars.
Words have to power to forgive and be forgiven by saying " I am sorry" and "please forgive me". Words can teach children to talk and preach the word of God.
I for one am going to be more mindful of the words I say. I want to speak life into my children. I want to speak always in love to my husband. I want my friends, family, children, and spouse to know I adore them. I want my children to be confident that as they fall asleep they are loved and cared for. I want them to never doubt how I feel for them and I want them to never regret anything I have ever said to them. I want my husband to know my love for him runs deep. I want my words to express respect and love to my parents for raising me. I want my words to express gratitude to God for sending his son to die on the cross for me. I want my words to speak like and not poison. What do your words say? What do you want them to say?