Welcome to my blog...

Green trees, cool water, a gentle breeze...the perfect place to sit at the feet of the Master and learn. Jesus taught so often on the shoreline, and He's still speaking today.

This is where I share the lessons He teaches me, often during the time I spend on the shores of a local lake. I don't have all the answers...and some days I don't have any. But I go here when I need to draw near to Him in a tangible way. Come with me...

Saturday, March 3, 2012

The Power of Words

I'm making hamburgers for lunch.  As the meat sizzles in the pan, my almost 22  year old son says to me "making monkey brain sandwiches?"

"What?" 

"I don't remember much from childhood" he continues "but I remember you once told me ground beef was monkey brains - that's why I won't eat it."

This is a revelation to me.  I don't ever in my life recall making that reference.  Ever.  But he is insistent.  So, maybe he's right.  Maybe I joked about it never thinking that it would cause such a strong reaction in him.

As someone who loves words I thought I was very aware of what these little symbols on a page can do.  My "love language" is words of affirmation, so I know when you express words audibly, with emotion and inflection behind them, they have even greater power to bring joy or sorrow, healing or pain.

It's one of the reasons why, when this same son and I used to share a computer, he would groan if he wanted to use it and I was already on.

"What's the matter?  I'll be off in a minute...I'm just writing a quick email."

"There is no such thing as a quick email for you" he'd complain.  "You don't just write them, you write and re-write!"

In fact, that's true.  A friend of mine says I don't write emails so much as 'craft' them.  I try to be thorough and clear since there are no verbal cues to indicate intent.

It's so easy to take words and how we use them for granted.  I lead a prayer group once a month. We're reading and discussing "Too Busy Not To Pray" by Bill Hybels.  This past week, there was a section entitled "Mean What We Say."  He talks about using 'sanctified jargon' while praying, saying that many may not even think about the implications of what they are saying.  He gives this example "Dear Lord, please be with me as I go on this new job interview" or "be with me as I go on this trip."  When you first hear it, the request sounds holy.  Unfortunately, it doesn't make sense.  I'm often tempted to ask the one who is praying, "why do you ask God to do what he is already doing?"  In Matthew 28:20 Jesus says, "Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."  In Hebrews 13:5, God says, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you."  ...One of Jesus' names, Emmanuel, means "God with us."  We don't need to ask God to be with us if we are members of his family.  Instead we need to pray that we will be aware of his presence, that we will be confident because of it."  Seems so obvious when he puts it that way, doesn't it?  But I'm sure we've all been guilty of something similar.

The Bible has much to say on the power of words.  Proverbs especially dedicates many verses to the subject. 13:3 warns "He who guards his lips guards his life, but he who speaks rashly will come to ruin."  16:34 instructs "Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones." and 18:21 says "The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit." There are are many more examples, but I'm sure you get the idea...words can be a weapon or a healing salve...or in the case of what I'm assuming must have been a teasing, off-the-cuff remark, they have the power to alter how someone else views things, good or bad.

So here's my challenge to you today.  Think before you speak.  Whether or not your conversation is emotionally charged, your words have a lasting effect on others.  Use them to encourage, teach and uplift.  And never, ever tell a kid that ground beef is really monkey brains LOL!

2 comments:

  1. Hi Toni! This post is so perfect! Often Katherine will remember things I said joking around for a giggle at younger ages that she clung to as a Holy Grail of sorts. Just this morning I was looking at the list of meditations I wrote from each chapter of the book called "Taming The Tongue". Our words are not only powerful but revealing as you attest to win your recent study. I think also so much is tied up in unseen dynamic since our enemy is the Prince of the Power of the Air...we never know what others are thinking, perceiving or believing and as we release our words we so need to think of the power and impact at that moment in time. All this being said I believe the verse sums it up well from Zechariah "Not by power, nor might but by my Spirit, thus saith the Lord". Well timed post! Your Blog is looking nice, as well- The picture at the top looks GREAT! In His Grace,
    Dawn

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    1. Dawn- thanks for the encouragement and compliments. Just took that picture of the lake a week or so ago...I do love it there! Yes especially with our kids, who at least at a younger age believe we know everything and speak with authority, we need to measure our words carefully! The book of James has always been a convicting one for me because of all the talk of the power of the tongue!

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