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November 20, 2008 ~ Your Words – Weapon Or Womb?

November 20, 2008

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Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit – you choose.

~Proverbs 18:21 (The Message)

Considering the power of words to be either a lethal weapon or a lifegiving womb, it is one of the world’s greatest wonders that we have learned so little about harnessing, and disciplining, their power. 

Often with sparse, if any thought, we let a barrage of them fly at someone – even someone we love very much – and do their worst.   Ripping their feelings.  Tearing their sense of self.  Destroying trust.  Shredding reputations.  Shattering relationships.  Stabbing with a pain so deep and personal that healing may never fully come.

I’ll bet it’s happened to you, and even more, I’ll bet you are thinking about that painful occasion right now.  Maybe it happened recently, or maybe it happened years ago in your childhood.  The fact that it all came back so easily is all the evidence needed to prove the point – we can inflict tremendous and lasting damage with just the force of our words.   Damage that leave us scarred from the wounds even years and years beyond the attack. 

In our culture, we’ve become seriously safety conscious.  We put locks and alarms on our cars and homes, we slather ourselves and our children in sunscreen, we prepare healthy meals that limit salt and sugar, we limit our family’s exposure to pesticides and dangerous chemicals, we wouldn’t think of putting a child in our car without a proper carseat, and virtually all cars are now equipped with airbags and other devices to protect our families – the list of safety precautions could fill this page.  Yet how many of us take as careful precautions with the words we speak to one another?

Now, switch gears entirely and think of a time when someone touched your heart, lifted your chin, or caused you to walk a little taller because of the words they spoke to you.  Perhaps it was a family member who remarked on your talent or acknowledged your intellect and insight; maybe it was a teacher or boss who recognized your unique contribution to a project.  Whatever it was, I’ll bet that memory comes flooding back too.  Now, sit with it a minute.  Dwell on it a little while.  Feels good all over again, doesn’t it?  Maybe it made you believe there were wider horizons out there for you, maybe it made you square your shoulders and recognize your own worth or maybe it gave you a fresh perspective on your place in the world.  Those words brought life!  They transformed you and made you a better person – and you’ll remember them your whole life long.

I have written quite a bit about the personal project I have set for myself of disciplining my mind and heart to seek out blessings, and to offer gratitude for them, along this journey with advanced breast cancer.  Early on, John and I set the song “Blessed Be Your Name” as our battle cry because its words speak our heart’s desire – to always offer praise to our dear Lord, regardless of the circumstance.  As I have worked on that project, I have learned how powerful words are – whether they are spoken aloud or held internally and repeated only to ourselves.  It is a difficult discipline to rein in our words, to seek and speak blessings, and to offer prayers rather than rants and complaints.  And I took on this project, at just this time, because I believe this scripture.  I believe that words are one of the strongest forces we’ve been given to use, and at this point in my life I want to harness that force to the best of my ability.

Imperfect as we are, we’ve all used our words as both weapons and wombs.  We’ve destroyed and we’ve brought forth life with what’s spewed, or flowed, from our mouths.  But don’t you think it would be great to see more of us coming to know the great power behind what we so casually throw out there at people?  And don’t you think it would be great to see more of us using our words to build up rather than break down?

Tell you what:  I’ll try to do better if you will.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. tonydye permalink
    November 20, 2008 8:46 am

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! Lori, you are right! We can be so reckless with our words. I am seeking in these days to be a “builder of the breach” with my words. God has laid on my heart to be an encouragement to those who are seeking to walk with Him. You are an encouragement to me.
    Know of my prayers for you and your husband as you walk your road…

  2. Mark permalink
    July 20, 2009 9:32 pm

    Truly our words has the power to build up or to tear down…

    what a wonderful blog to ponder on..

    may you continue bringing light to others..

    regards,

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