On some playground as I child, I learned to sing the song “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.” I guess that was to appease the bullies on the playground as we stuck out our tongues at them, but in reality it couldn’t be farther from the truth. Words do hurt and they can do great harm. Wars have been fought because of words.
There are many people who are struggling in life today not because of physical injuries on a playground but from words spoken out in anger, rage or disgust. Physical injuries through the years have healed fast and words have not healed so fast. For many, negative and destructive words play over and over like a bad movie in the heart and soul.
Words are very powerful. We listen to the words spoken to us and they impact us more than we realize. They move us, inspire us to action, comfort and encourage us, bring healing or they can crush us and devastate us. We are changed either positively or negatively simply because of words. We are even impacted by our own words and tend to follow what we have declared. You have heard people say they are not good enough, smart enough and it seems that their life follows suit. They almost become self-fulfilling prophecies.
I am reminded what the writer of Proverbs says about the power of words:
“The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” Proverbs 18:20
“A fool’s mouth is his undoing and his lips are a snare to his soul.” Proverbs 18:7
Be careful of what you say as it just might come to pass. I am not advocating that we never speak what is reality. If we are hurt, angry or depressed, denying it is not going to make it go away. I do think it would serve us well to take inventory of our speech. What would it be like to tape ourselves on any given today? We probably would not be very happy by what we heard. What are we declaring about ourselves on a daily basis? What is our self-talk like?
When we speak, we really are listening to our own words and those words are impacting us either positively or negatively. What would happen if our words started sounding more like God’s words about us? What would happen if were intentional about speaking words that brought life and encouragement to ourselves and others?
Our words are powerful. They are ever changing us and others around us. What kind of life do we really want to live? If our tongues have the power of life and death and you and I are going to eat the fruit of our conversations, I say it’s time to start speaking in the right direction. If we can learn to encourage, build up and not to tear down ourselves or others around us, I believe we will experience powerful changes of good “fruit” in our lives.