Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Strength of Our Words

A few years ago I watched the movie, “Mona Lisa Smile” starring Julia Roberts. She played the role of an Art History college professor at a prestigious eastern girls school during the early 1950’s. She was a “liberal” thinker for those times, and felt that the well educated women at this college could have careers outside the home after they graduated if they so desired. Her ideas were not easily accepted by many at this institution, because even though the women at this school were educated they were expected to marry well to do men and have traditional lives of the times. One of the young women at the college had a great deal of power over her friends, other students, and even some of the faculty because of her family background and her creative ability to write for the campus paper. Unfortunately, she wrote mostly negative, unpleasant articles, and her jealous and vindictive ways were self-destructive not only for herself, but for many who came in contact with her. Towards the end of the movie, with the help of friends and her college professor (played by Julia Roberts), she becomes aware of her hateful ways, changes how she acts with others, and becomes an advocate for doing what is right. Her words still had power, but now they had the power to build up and not destroy.

All of us have experienced the power of words on us and on others. Whether spoken gently or harshly, negatively or positively, words have influence over all who hear them.

Proverbs 16:24 says, “Pleasant words are like honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.”

God wants us to know just how powerful a pleasant attitude can be. Describing words as “honeycomb” gives us visions of sweetness, but the sweetness described here is sweet to the soul – the deep inner part of all of us- and that is powerful. And healing to the bones, ahhh…. for those of us who live with daily pain, the thought of our bones healing from the pain we experience, is a miracle in itself. Definitely, this image is powerful.

I believe that keeping a gratitude/blessing journal can help us to turn our focus away from the “nitty-gritty” of life, and keep our focus instead on all that is good. When writing down or mentally listing all our blessings of the day, it cannot help but put a smile on our faces. Recently another blogger, Ms. F. talked about her M.O.B. ~ her Moments of Beauty on her blog, "I May Be Fatigued, But I Will Always Be Fabulous", that she purposely searches for each day. I have been trying to add this activity into my day, too.

Recently I heard Oprah tell her audience that when she was 8 years old one of her teachers told her she was as “pretty as a speckled pup”. For a child who had not received any positive input in her life, these words were also like honeycomb and sweet to her soul! It gave her courage to overcome great odds.

In Proverbs 3:17 we read, “Her ways are ways of pleasantness and all her ways are peace.”

The dictionary defines the word pleasant as meaning, sweet, fun, nice, merry, friendly, and pleasing. Just hearing these words is uplifting! Apply them to people, and we can see how we are attracted to those who are pleasant. A pleasing word can get us through a tough day, and a friendly greeting can brighten a person’s spirit. A positive attitude can bring hope to the hopeless – joy to the downtrodden- peace to the restless soul. There is great strength to be found in our words ~ to ourselves and others. Let's all practice a pleasant attitude with powerful words so that what we say will be sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.


PJ said...

I love this reminder so much that I'm starting to put a gratitude of the day and MOB on every post ... if for no other reason than to help me with my own attitude!

thanks so much,

Anonymous said...

You are welcome...I have got to go back and look up who talked about this on their blog so I can give credit where credit is due. It is a good way to start or end our days isn't it.