I can remember sitting around our kitchen table and 90% of the time, the only people talking were my parents. My dad would yammer on about his day and my mom would respond in kind. Once in a while, I or one of my siblings would utter a “pass the potatoes” but that was about it.
Fast forward a few decades and conversations around the dinner table were so rampant, it was hard to keep track of the multitude of words flying around the air. We are a lively bunch – my family – and we’ve much to say. Guess it was all those years of being quiet as my dad took center stage.
Words Have Power
Today we have millions of words being thrown at us from so many channels. Separating the truth from lies is an exercise in futility most days. Reacting to click-bait is so pervasive, it’s mind-blowing. Headlines tempt us to hit share buttons faster than a speeding bullet. We’ve no idea what the underlying articles may say but we feel compelled to spread the word to our peeps so they’ll be ‘in the know’. But are they really?
“Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never harm me” is a phrase that couldn’t be further from the truth. In most cases, the exact opposite is true. Physical wounds eventually heal but a broken heart from a mis-spoken word? Hmm…even a colorful Band-aid may not do the trick.
Over the past few years, I have taken steps to begin my day with positive words. Whether they come from the devotional I hold dear to my heart or from my Bible, I want the first words of my day to be as uplifting as possible because Lord knows, it’s only a matter of minutes that the world’s words will steal that joy as it did to me many times this past week.
I struggle with people who are mean for no reason. My overabundance of compassion and empathy towards others prevent me from being intentionally mean. Oh don’t get me wrong, my dander can be raised up pretty quickly if I feel that I or my loved ones are being mistreated, but there’s justification in those rare outbursts.
Before I write my blog posts, I pray. I pray that the words I share reach their full potential. I pray that they lift up someone who may be faltering or result in a new way of thinking. I pray that my words heal because I know how it feels when these precious commodities are used otherwise.
This week I encourage you to pay attention to the words you speak. Consider the recipient’s reaction. Are your words adding value to their life or diminishing it? If you have to face a tough situation or possibly a confrontation, choose your words wisely. Put yourself in the other person’s shoes and try to see how you’d feel if you were spoken to in this way.
Take a deep breath before you speak. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you with His wisdom as you share your thoughts, feelings and intentions. Pray that the words you share will bring about the positive changes you desire in a helpful and healing way.