I have been involved with a Bible Study for the past two weeks entitled The Power of Faith-filled Words. It has been very helpful for me in so many ways. Faith-filled words are on my mind to write about, but today I want to talk about the impact of the words we speak to others. Our words hold a lot of power. We "speak life and death with our words". ( Proverbs 18:21)
Thinking about the power of words brought up something that happened several years ago. I had sent an email to someone close to me expressing my feelings concerning a situation that came from a place of deep emotion. It was not mean, but it was not nice or any of my business. The response I got was immediate and filled with anger. A long email let me know that they had never felt they had my approval. They had "tried for years" to get my approval and never had. The email went on to say some pretty hurtful things judging my character and the person I was. I was stunned. It made me sick to my stomach. I realized the close relationship I felt I had with this person was based on misconception. What I thought was real was not perceived the same way by them. I felt horrible that he/she never ever felt they had my approval. How awful!
I share this because it is important to realize the power behind our words. The words that were said in that email had a huge impact on me. I cried for weeks grieving what was lost, and for years I was afraid to say anything that would be taken wrong. Sometimes I still am. I also had to forgive this person for hurting me, and I had to work through what was said...was there any truth in the words that described me so negatively? Was I the Renee that my loved one spoke about? Since I held my loved one in high regard, it was a long process for me and very important.
The fact that this person did not feel they ever had my approval spoke volumes. Were my words conveying what I really thought or felt? Were my words and actions hurting others? Yes, they were. Not only did my words hurt someone I care about, they had severe consequences for me. I did apologize, and I have spent a lot of time praying for healing in this relationship. I also pray for God to remove any critical spirit within me as only He can do. God will work all things out for good as He always does.
Yes, there is great power in our words. And we cannot take them back. They can be damaging and destruction or they can be helpful and encouraging....building others up. Sometimes we do need to speak truth to others, but it needs to be done in love and as directed by God. God gives us guidance in His Word for how we should speak to or about others. We do have a choice.
Paul says in Ephesians 4:29 "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen”.
Lest I leave you with only the negative impact of our words, let us not forget the positive impact our words can have on others. We can build up, encourage, and show love through our words. All of us know what it feels like to be told "I love you".... "Great job"...."I forgive you". We all have stories that bring to mind memories of how the words of others encouraged and shaped us.
There is power in our words!
"May the words of my mouth
and the meditation of my heart
be acceptable in Your sight
my rock and my Redeemer."