I was sitting in a church auditorium recently, listening to a preacher talk about the power words have on us all, both written and spoken, and the great impact they convey to those around us. It was a well articulated speech, causing me to think about how large a role words play in our lives.
Words are extremely powerful— carrying the strength to heal or wound, encourage or discourage, speak truth or deceive, praise or criticize. In fact, the Bible says that death and life are in the power of the tongue. Since that’s true, controlling what we say and how we say it is one of the most important parts of our existence.
Anytime I sit down to write an article, fresh chapter in a new book, post on social media, or create a simple e-mail I’ve consciously learned to be very careful what I jot down; giving special attention to my words’ tone and always trying to respect the people on the receiving end. I’ve heard it said before that one word can change an entire nation, start a war, and set the scene for a book, movie, or beginning of a romantic relationship. Words can sting you hard like a scorpion’s poison, make you cry, send shivers down your spine, give you hope, or make you crawl underneath bed sheets for days. One word or a simple sentence can overcome your mind and make you wander through the harshest of emotional landscapes before snapping you back to consciousness. Just think how the simple words, “I Love You, I Hate You,” or “Congratulations” can impact your life when being heard the very first time from a soul mate, parent, or friend.
One thing I love and look for in movies or books is a word, or short sentence carrying deep meaning which sticks with me through a long period; the ones which cling to your bones, cut through to reality, and stay in your subconscious. From childhood ‘til later adulthood, we’ve all been on the receiving end of words that define who we are, change our attitudes, propel us to new destinations, motivate us to rise higher, make us forgive quicker, bring us closer to God, and surge the word “hope” to a whole other level. We recognize them when we hear them, knowingly changing the very essence of who we are. Words can inspire us to greatness or encourage us to fail. They enable us to share our deepest feelings. Words can sculpt us as individuals. When used carefully, they can also change the world around us.
Many of you who view my articles are writers as well. We all strive to give our readers words they’ll enjoy, creating ones they’ll see as positive, educative, informative, and sometimes inspirational. Oftentimes we succeed, other times we fail. Mainly because all words are interpreted differently by everyone, it all depends on their tone, arrangement on the page, and topic being covered.
One area of the preacher’s sermon which hit me fairly hard was the notion that everything we say defines who we are and how others see us. So much of our lives are created through our tongues, drawing positive and negative energy when we speak. If you’re the type that talks with a negative tone about situations and people, you’ll attract the same to your own life, but the same can be said when positivity takes over. God takes what you say and reflects it back to you and those around you. It kind of goes back to simple physics: For every action there is an equal or opposite reaction.
May we all use our tongues wisely.