Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Power of our Words

So I've been thinking a lot lately about the power of our words. Not so much in the words we choose to include in our books and articles. Those are definitely important, but that post is for another day.

The power I'm talking about is that which we have over words we use to encourage and discourage people. To lift them up or tear them down. To inflate or deflate. To criticize or motivate.

I've had plenty of people in my life who have used their words against me. Sometimes those words have been mean or harsh. Sometimes their words of love or affection that I longed to hear were simply withheld. Either way, I was negatively affected.

Yes, I have the ability (and have been commanded) to forgive. But forgiveness does not mean we can just forget about those words and pretend they were never said. There is a reason the Bible says that life and death are in the power of the tongue. Because our words affect people and we are affected by others' words. Who in the world ever came up the saying "Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me"? That has to be the most ridiculous line ever, made up by someone who didn't have either a heart or a brain.

What an awesome responsibility we have as Christians to steer our tongues in the right direction and speak words that bring life and healing. I'm probably overly sensitive, but personally, the thought of hurting someone with my words brings me to tears. Probably because I've been hurt so many times myself and I know what it does to the heart. And I can also imagine how it grieves the Holy Spirit when we use our beautiful instrument of praise to knock down and destroy someone instead.

Here's my question for you. I'll keep it writing related and positive:

Who in your life has spoken words of encouragement and motivation
 to you in your writing journey? And how have you encouraged others?


suz said...

Good post. Last week a friend told me of a 3rd person who made positive comments to others at a library program about my writing. You talk about encouragement! I immediately wrote the 3rd person to express my appreciation. And I always encourage anyone with an interest in writing to find a writer's group to join to improve their writing skills. It is always so much better for all of us to be positive than to be negative, though as humans we often fail. But we can get back on the positive train as soon as possible.

Loree Huebner said...

I think words withheld hurt more than words spoken...

Nice post.

Joanne Sher said...

You, Lynda, are someone who has spoken encouragement to me - as is Deb, Patty, and pretty much all the jewelers.

As you know, my spiritual gift is encouragement, so I think I do it quite a bit. Great post :)

Lynda Lee Schab said...

Good point, Loree. For me, personally, I have experienced negative and just plain cruel words spoken to me, so that's the type of hurt I relate most to. But you're right. Unspoken words can do a world of hurt.

Suz...that's awesome! How wonderful to be encouraged like that! ARE such an encourager and have blessed me tremendously with your words. xxoo

quietspirit said...

I went to our pastor one August day about 8 1/2 or 9 1/2 years ago. I wanted him to read the Christmas play I had written. He read it and said, "Let's do it." We worked together and co-directed it. He wrote me a note of encouragement when I went to a Spiritual retreat. He said, "We ought to do another play." When our church merged with another one and moved. I produced the second play I had written. We formed a Drama Ministry at church.
This past December, while rehearsing a Christmas play, Pastor John called me out of a crowd and said,"I want to see another Easter play from you for this coming Easter." He has encouraged me to start a blog. He says he reads my column. He's one of my greatest supporters. And he preaches the Word of God.

Lynda Lee Schab said...

That is so awesome, Quietspirit! There is nothing like someone encouraging us in our gift. What a wonderful feeling to have someone like that believe in you. :-)

Linda Glaz said...

Lynda, this is so true. When we write, we are able to control or let loose a character's mouth, but, alas, in our "real" lives, we don't seem to have as much control over that tiny little member of the body!