Thursday, January 22, 2015

The Power of Our Words

It would be interesting to see just for one day, or maybe even just for a few hours of a day, how the words we speak are interpenetrated by others. The impact that they have, how they are passed along and the thoughts and actions of others that are a result of those words. Words spoken casually, without forethought, often have a great impact on the one spoken to, the one doing the speaking and others who overhear.   

Mark Hall, from the Casting Crowns leads a tremendous Bible Study on the book of James. Marks studies are great, he easily understood and breaks things down making  himself appealing to any age group. One of the comments Mark made during the study really resonates with me. He said something like this, "Wow, James must have gone to a church filled with a lot of gossips to come up with all of this." Sad but probably very true.

 James 3:8 ESV But no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so. 

Think back to when they were small, to your reactions to the comments people around you made to others. Can you remember any that really stand out? How you understood the comment and how it made you feel?

We never loose that little child in us, or that initial reaction to things spoken. Shock, fear, pain, guilt and confusion are just a few of the things we may have felt. 
I recall a baseball game I attended with my dad when I was about ten years old. I was sitting in the bleachers, innocently munching on some sunflower seeds or something while my father umpired the game. I was probably nervous to be alone in a crowd of adults in the first place and then my father made a call that evidently displeased the people sitting around me. Now, nearly fifty years latter I can still recall the a comment made by some stranger, "That ump should slit his throat, that call was b.s." 
I do not recall the individual who said it, but I will never forget how it made me feel. 
I remember asking my dad what it meant during the drive home. He may or may not have made an error in the call, that was not the point. His response was this, "People often say things they shouldn't. They are  not always right but they do it. I am sorry you had to hear that."

It changed me inside and made aware of how people can hurt your feelings with their words. I went on in life to have this happen to me many, many times, as have we all. I can not sit here at this computer and say I have never hurt anyone's feelings with my tongue, because I am certain that I have and that makes me very sad. I wish that I could apologize to each and every person I have ever made an unnecessary or rude  comment to. Unfortunately, that is impossible, but what I can do is think before I speak and pray that all of my words will be pleasing to God. I can ask him to help me guard my tongue, I can ask him to help me to be pure of heart and I can ask him to keep my lips closed when unnecessary words fill my mouth. 

When someone comes to me with a heavy load in their heart, may God keep me from offering unsolicited advice or commentary. When our hearts are heavy with sadness, fear or guilt, it is common for us to seek a friend, a confidant, someone to hear us, someone to listen. Unless we ask for feedback, and even if we do, we are not seeking constructive criticism or even advice. We are seeking an ear. A friend. If words are offered they should be words of encouragement, not words laced with bitterness or haughtiness. Gentle words that will dry our tears, calm our fears and give us strength to move forward and handle whatever difficulties we are facing with grace and confidence. That is what God expects from us. 

 Ephesians 4:29  Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.


  May God shine through our words, as well as our deeds now & forever! 

Blessings, Lori

Click on MARK HALL to see the Bible Studies he offers on You Tube