Friday, February 5, 2010

What Did You Say?

I have been thinking a lot about words this week. So often, we hear that words are meaningless and that without action to back them up, they are empty, nothing but a waste of time and breath. I disagree. Let me introduce you to one of Satan’s greatest and most effective deceptions – “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me!” How many times have we chanted this mantra as children trying to convince ourselves and the bullies in our lives that what they say doesn’t hurt us? How many times as adults have we told our children that the nasty things other children say are just meaningless words in an attempt to protect them and bring a smile to their faces again? The truth is that mean words can and do hurt. I know a woman who survived an abusive marriage who says that if she had to pick between verbal and physical abuse, she would pick physical because those hurts eventually heal.

Conversely, words of kindness and edification are like a healing salve to the hurting heart. My life proves it. Much of the abuse I’ve lived through has been verbal. Many people in my life who by the nature of our relationship should have been encouraging, helping me to build my self-esteem instead degraded me with their hate-filled words. Seven years ago, God brought me into a place filled with people who have been consistently and patiently encouraging and comforting to me. They’ve helped me to build the esteem and confidence every person needs to face the sometimes-harsh realities of life all with their kind words and a few hugs.

This week I decided to concentrate on the words that I say – not just to keep the unkind words from escaping my mouth, but also to look for opportunities to uplift those around me with a word of kindness or encouragement. There were the multitudes of people in the service industry, the bagger at the grocery store, the waitress at a local restaurant, the bank teller… Then there are the people I work with and my family. There were many people for me to say a heartfelt “thank you” to and those who needed to hear that they are appreciated and loved. Some needed to hear that they were doing a good job and some needed to hear that they have value. I couldn’t believe how many people I found this week that needed to hear “you’re okay!” Words are powerful and what I realized this week is that the joy and confidence that positive words bring do not confine themselves to the person being spoken to but also extends to the person who is speaking. The more kind and encouraging words that I was able to impart, the happier and more fulfilled I became. Praise God for the wonderful blessing that He gave in and through me this week.

Words are powerful. Use them well.

About the picture
Deer Lake Park (August 2009)

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