Words and Their Impact

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me.”   Wishful thinking, my friends!  That catchy little phrase our parents told us to use to ensure unkind words would just “bounce” off of us, RARELY, if ever, worked.  Words have tremendous power over us from a very young age until we graduate to heaven!  And words often are at the root of our insecurities; because we believe what others say to us or, about us, instead of what GOD says about us.

One doesn’t realize the impact and implications that can come from the power of our words.  Are we choosing to speak words of life to others and even about ourselves?  Do we understand the implications of those words spoken?  Are they words that edify and build up or words that are disparaging and tear down?   Are we choosing to receive words that hinder our self esteem or are we standing on God’s truth and rejecting those words?

The effects of our words impact and can cause implications.  James 3:9-10With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness.  Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing.  My brothers, this should not be.”   The power of words affects each of us.

We are human, fallible, and do say careless words.  As Christians, we are called to die to self and focus on God.  That said, if we can “suit-up” and prepare for the day by covering our soul (mind, attitude, thinking, emotions) and hearts, with His Armor (the full armor), we will be more prepared to handle the stuff that comes at us.

Last month we discussed the protective armor of God, and the importance of taking captive thoughts that do not align with the Word of God.  Thoughts become WORDS!  The reality is words do hurt, but if my armor is on, and my shield up, those words, which are arrows from the enemy, can be deflected!   Ephesians 6:16 states “In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.”  We need to know what God’s Word states, because it is in those moments when the fiery darts are being released upon us, that we can extinguish them with Truth!

We opened the series with a few questions.  Are we choosing to receive words that hinder our self esteem or are we standing on God’s truth and rejecting those words?   Are we choosing to speak words of life to those around us and even to ourselves?

There are two types of word weaponry.  The first deals with “Receiving” words being released to us and the importance and the need to sometimes reject them.

For instance, my 11 year old, ecstatic that she cracked a sphere in a mineral naturalist reserve, excitedly told a good friend who promptly replied:  “well I did that in kindergarten”; or the time when she sent a photo to friend with a caption – Colorado is beautiful; and her friend replied: “Oh, not as beautiful as Alaska!”  Thankfully, Christina knows who she is in Christ, and doesn’t “Receive” those words as detrimental, but the lack of interest from her “friend” does hurt.

Or, how many times have you been in a situation because of the other person’s insecurities they speak hurtful words to you trying to cause you to feel insecure about yourself.  Whatever you “hear,” think before you respond!  Right at that instant, you have a choice.  Do I choose to receive those words or not…  God desires for us to stay in step with the Spirit.  He doesn’t want us responding out of anger, bitterness, resentment or retaliation.  You need to be prepared.   If you aren’t prepared, and thus react without thinking, you will undoubtedly feel rejection.  And REJECTION is a sure cause of INSECURITY.   Respond either verbally, or in your thoughts with truth.  If you are suited-up, and know you have right standing with God, you have some of His Word tucked in your heart.  You trust that He has your back, and you know without a doubt who is holding you up, then, and only then, can you respond confidently!

The second type of word weaponry is “Speaking” words.  Are we choosing to speak words of life to those around us?  Do we speak lovingly and encourage one another?

Webster’s dictionary defines 3 words which I believe describe the words many of us use.  The first is regrettable which means to cause sadness or disappointment.  How many times have we said something but through the words we spoke caused someone to become sad or disappointed?  Or perhaps many of us use disparaging words which mean to either lower in rank or reputation and/or to degrade.  And lastly, and most unfortunately we us words which discourage which it can deprive of courage or confidence.[1]

These types of words cause rejection, and a host of physical and psychological issues.  As I said before – we are human, and fallible.  We jump the gun, overreact, and have a plethora of excuses for our bad behavior:  Being tired, busy, stressed, sick, etc.  Do you ever say something and within an instant are prompted that it was unkind, self-centered, or just rude?  Today, we take the spoken word and text it, email it and spam it across the globe.  That misspoken word is hard to take back, and when it becomes black and white in print, tremendous damage can occur.  It can cause barriers between those we love and care about.  It kills self-esteem!

It has been proven that low self-esteem can cause learning difficulty, unhealthy relationships, eating disorders, violence, drug abuse and suicide.  Approximately 160,000 children a day stay home from school because they are afraid of being bullied. Bullying is not just physical, but emotional and verbal as well.[2]  50% of marriages end in divorce due to one or both parties engaged in unhappy, unhealthy relationships.  Why are they unhealthy or unhappy?  Are they encouraging one another?  Are they building up one another?  Are one or both suffering from depression or anxiety caused by insecurities – insecurities stemming from regrettable, hurtful words spoken by their partner?  Disparaging or discouraging comments made presently, or in the past by a parent, colleague, or friend?

So what can we do?  It first starts with us.  We need to take responsibility for our actions.  And we need God’s help to be victorious. PRAY daily; Psalm 141:3Set a guard over my mouth, O LORD; keep watch over the door of my lips.”   Earnestly ask God to make you more aware of the words that come out of your mouth and the tone in which you speak them.

Secondly, walk in obedience to God’s Word: Ephesians 4:29Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”

Because the truth is “The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.”  Proverbs 12:18

Next month we will devote time to equipping you with ways to ensure affirmation and edification.

Grace and Peace to you….

Anna Marie Caulkins
Planning & Development Director

[1] www.merriam-webster.com
[2] http://www.rota-es.eu.dodea.edu/Anti%20bully.pdf

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