What a memory taught me about words

A little over 6 years ago, I found myself sitting on my boyfriend’s couch opening a gift he had presented to me. The gift was placed in a bag and hidden in a tiny green box. As I opened the box,my eyes beheld a stunning princess cut diamond perfectly mounted on a beautifully simple band, looking as if it were made only to be worn by MY finger. I remember as I touched that exquisite ring for the first time. I remember as my boyfriend spoke the most beautiful phrase I had dreamed of hearing, ‘Will you marry me?‘ With excitement, I proclaimed in confidence, ‘Yes!’ 
I will never forget the way his voice sounded as his lips formed those precious words. Their sound are forever etched into my mind. When I look at our couch, I catch myself seeing the way his face beamed and I hear those words repeated again and I experience that same joy in the exact same manner. 

We all have moments like this when words have been spoken and they created a lasting impression where even the smallest details stay with us from that point on. 

Words are these little things that you can’t see as they are formed from a mouth, yet without visible form they have the ability to paint intricately detailed pictures in our mind. They possess the ability to invoke feeling as they fall on listening ears. They have the capacity to tear us apart or the power to build us up strong. They cause us to be moved to tears, to joy, to love, to anger, to excitement – all types of emotion…all of this by these seemingly little things that have no form as they leave the lips of the one who speaks them. They seem so small and insignificant, but possess such power as we are told in Proverbs 18:21, that death and life are in the power of the tongue. When we speak them we easily forget that truth, but quickly remember when we take a step back and look how they have been used and misused throughout history. When we reflect, their power is obvious. Words spoken such as Rev. Martin Luther King’s, ‘I Have a Dream,’ speech, or Abraham Lincoln’s, ‘Gettysburg Address’. Words that were delivered beautifully to groups of people which sparred movements and rallied support.

However, in the same manner, we also hear how words are used in ignorance to persuade and spread evil forces and breed hate throughout our communities. 

Or- what if we take this to a smaller scale, smaller, but no less impactful. Let us look at a parent child relationship. Words spoken by a parent can be used to empower a child to rise above and meet challenges, and strive to do their best at all times. Unfortunately, they can also be used to emotionally abuse when spoken harshly and without care. When used this way, these words breath hate into the child, and suck like a vacuum all motivation, and self confidence from within. Both instances using the same device – words – with vastly different outcomes – one used to build up, the other used to tear down.

The Bible has a lot to say about words and how they should be used.

Proverbs 18:21 

Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.

Matthew 12:36

I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak,

Matthew 12:37

For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

Proverbs 29:20

Do you see a man who is hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him.

And let us not forget the fact that the God of the universe created life by speaking – words. This fact drives home their power and shatters the thought that they are merely an insignificant formless, ‘thing’. 

James 3:8 states

But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.

We are taught from a young age to bite our tongue…but there are days when this feels impossible…there are days when the biting hurts so bad you just can’t bite any longer and emotion stirs within us begging us to let our words spew forth like fire threatening to tear down those around us. It is in those moments that we have a choice. A choice to give in and allow destruction to come from within or a choice to remember what God’s word instructs.

Matthew 12:37

For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

Which do you desire today? Do you want to be justified or condemned? I challenge all of us today to focus and use our words with care being slow to speak, and lifting up a voice in prayer asking God…

Psalms 19:14

 Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.

Choose him…

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