I believe there is something mystically powerful about spoken words. Words have the power to pierce flesh and blood, to both wound and inspire the human soul. Mental health counselors and psychologists make a lot of money and spend hours undoing damage created by spoken words.
How many precious sons and daughters, people marvelously made in the image of God have thought less of themselves or settled for an incomplete or inaccurate assessment of their worth because they were told, perhaps over and over, that they were not good enough, big enough, slender enough, smart enough, pretty enough, or talented enough?
Maybe the damage was done not by written or spoken words but by “mental words,” the thoughts we tell ourselves. Are there unhealthy thoughts that you secretly harbor? Often what makes words so damaging is not that the words are negative, but that they are untrue. Think of the lies we tell ourselves, or allow ourselves to believe?
Just because the words you hear may be negative doesn’t mean they are harmful. If I’m walking around with my fly down, I appreciate someone inconspicuously pointing that out. Suppose I have a bad habit of chewing food with my mouth open or dominating conversations. In that case, I will be wise to listen to corrective counsel, even if it’s hard to hear.
However, there is a difference between corrective counsel based on truth and negative words based on a lie. It’s the lies we hear in our head as well as those we hear with our ears that can be so destructive. How do you conquer those lies? One way is to override the lies in your head by speaking words of truth out loud. Here’s where we can help each other.
If you have a co-worker, family member, or a friend you know is beating themselves up internally in an unhealthy way, you can help by speaking positive truth to them. Your spoken words alone may not be the solution, but they can help.
The truth is, we choose to believe what we want. I can tell a friend that they are amazingly gifted and a beautiful person all day long. But I can’t keep that friend from choosing to embrace an internal lie that they are nothing but a screw-up. Yes, our words matter. Both the words we say and the words we listen to and believe.
My challenge to you today is not to try and save the world through your words. But to be intentional in choosing to speak light and love, truth, and value to yourself and others every chance you get — because your words matter.