Gary's blog for couples and parents plus resources for individuals, leaders and churches.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Power of Words of Life

Most of us have forgotten most of what happened or was said to us five, ten, twenty, or forty years ago. But there are likely a couple of things that DO stand out. Things that were special, events that were surprises, opportunities that were incredibly amazing and words that hurt.

Yes, words that stung, that attacked our character, that made us feel ashamed are ones that stay with us for awhile, sometimes forever. Why?  Because they went deeply into our souls, they described to us (or so we thought) who we really are in the eyes of the other person and they often seemed to speak about things that we could never change.

If some of us reading this right now were to actually think again about hearing those words we would get a tear in our eye or a lump in our throat. Others might become enraged or find themselves in a moment of despair. The harmful, death-like words of those who mean the most to us can injure, abuse and destroy.

Sadly, those kinds of words may be coming from our mouths and we don't even realize it. We may blame them on a moment of anger or the bad behavior of the kids. We can couch our response in "that's just how I respond, but I get over it," but those who bear the brunt of our words don't get over it.

That's why we need to keep the focus of our language on words of life, words that encourage, build up and are offered to help keep the other person's dignity and personhood still intact.  We can say hard things, deal with conflicts and express differences of opinions and still speak words of life, not words of death.

Words of death usually have phrases in them like, you always, you never, you're just a . . .  , etc. Words of death are typically accompanied by a tone and/or look of disdain that makes the other person cower and want to leave.

In a negative situation words of life will sound more like, "I'm really angry right now because it seems like you said one thing last night and are changing your mind now without consulting me."  That's a fair statement. No one is being condemned, no one's character is under attack.  The speaker is simply expressing their emotions and why and talking about a current event or action and no other.

Words of death bring shame.  Words of life offer hope.  Words of death push away while words of life draw people together.

The familiar credit card ad regularly asks, "What's in your wallet?"  So let me ask, "What's in your vocabulary?"  Words of life or death.  A famous Proverb from the Bible says, "Death and life are in the power of the tongue."  No words could be more true . . . or important.
Gary Sinclair Writer | Speaker | Leader

Gary is currently a consultant, teacher, speaker and chaplain providing resources for families, leaders and churches.

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