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“I just say what I think, and if people don’t like it…. oh, well!”
Have you ever heard that phrase before? I have, and when I hear it it makes me cringe inside.
On the flip side there are people who say what they think and don’t even realize their words are piercing the soul of the hearer.
We spend so much of our time behind a screen- computer, phone, television- that we sometimes forget a real-life, living, breathing person is on the receiving end of our words. We have lost the art of tact and the mindset of consideration for the feelings of others, and we rush headlong into airing our thoughts and unrefined feelings for the world to hear and read.
Words can be beautiful, though.
Have you read the Declaration of Independence, Little Women, the Chronicles of Narnia, the poems of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, or John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress? The beauty of these words have lasted a few hundred years and will continue to be passed down to following generations.
However, the words that we see through social media and hear in conversations, radio, and television have eroded over time and are not always fit for young eyes and ears. Rather than using the countless beautiful words that God has put into our vocabulary and that Daniel Webster put into his extensive dictionary, our culture has chosen a limited number of words and uses them to express every emotion known to man.
The saying “Sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never hurt me” is not as true as we want it to be.
Yes, sticks and stones hurt us physically, but words hurt our soul.
Words can eat away at the very fiber of our being.
Words can cause our stomachs to knot and twist.
Words can make us feel sick inside of our bones.
Words said in the heat of the moment can divide.
Words said in haste can cause irreparable damage.
Words thoughtlessly spoken can sever longtime relationships.
As always, God has something to say about the words that we use.
Ephesians 4:29- Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.
Words can heal when they are seasoned with grace (Colossians 4:6).
Words can be as beautiful as a plate of golden apples in a setting of silver (Proverbs 25:11).
Words can correct behavior when spoken in love (Ephesians 4:15)
Words can unite when spoken quietly and not shouted over others (Proverbs 15:1).
Maybe it’s because my love language is words of affirmation that I am more in tune to the pain and joy words can bring. When I hear words directed at my children with a tone that speaks down to them rather than lifting them up, my heart hurts. When I view social media and see people shouting at each other from both sides of the aisle trying to be heard but not making any headway because their words are cutting and abrasive, I want to throw my hands up, slap the lid down on my laptop, and walk away in frustration. When I hear politicians use their words to manipulate, my faith in our governmental systems is shattered.
But when I open up my Bible and read the Words that God has inspired, my soul is renewed again.
As a Purposeful Woman, we can choose to be intentional with our words online, with our acquaintances, friends, coworkers, but most importantly our families. We can ask God for wisdom in finding the right words that will unite rather than creating chasms.
As a Purposeful Wife, we can choose to let our words bring life to our husband’s tired heart after a long day of work. Ask God to allow your words to be a soothing balm for his tired and weary soul.
As a Purposeful Mom, we can choose to use words that build our children up and solidify the value we place on them. Beyond our four wall there will be words a plenty vying for the opportunity to whittle our children’s souls down. Our words need to reinforce to them that they are fearfully and wonderfully made.
There are people all around us who are in need of healing. Our nation is in need of healing. May God use the words we speak (and post) to bring healing to the hurting.