I believe there are few more powerfully shaping things in life than the words we say to one another. It’s crazy to think the average person speaks 15,000 words each day!Every day we use words to communicate what we want or what we need. You use them to tell your parents what you want for breakfast. You use them to make decisions or tell someone what you’re thinking. You use your words to tell your friends and family that you love them. You use words to answer a teacher’s question in class. Words are the primary way we are able to formulate thoughts and ideas into something that is sharable with others. How would we express ourselves without words? Unfortunately, words aren’t always used positively. If put together in just the right way, words can be extremely hurtful. You know the old saying “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me?” I don’t buy that at all. I can think of several times when someone’s words to me hurt more than any bump or scrape ever did. I don’t think we realize how powerful negative words can be. Telling someone they can’t do something could tear down dreams they’ve had for a long time. Gossiping about someone could cause them to have insecurities that last for a lifetime. Calling someone a mean nickname could cause them to forget their true identity as God’s son or daughter. It may even cause them to see themselves negatively all the time. Sometimes the words you don’t speak to someone can be the most hurtful of all. When we choose to withhold our words and not talk to someone because they are different we are creating rejection and separation between people. We try to pretend these words don’t bother us but we all know they do. Negative words are sometimes more vividly remembered than positive ones. In John 17 Jesus prays a very detailed prayer to God right before he goes to the cross. In one part of the prayer he prays for all people who will believe in him in future generations. He could have prayed for anything at this moment but do you know what he thought was the most important thing? UNITY. In verse 21 Jesus prays that we would all be one. Jesus believed that unity among all Christians would be so important as we tried to live a life that was pleasing to God. There are lots of ways we can be united but one big way is through the words we say to one another. Ephesians 4:29 says “Do 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.” When we choose to speak encouraging words we are building people up and creating unity. Encouraging words can give others the courage to try something new or take a risk. Positive words can help people believe in themselves and see all the wonderful ways God made them. I believe positive words can reverse the effects of negative words spoken to people in the past.
Know that your words are powerful. Make your 15,000 count for something good!