Sticks and Stones
Of course, can maim and bruise, but it’s the power of words that make more change than we realize. The Power of Words can soothe, and inflame; challenge, and put down; calm, and incite a riot; draw someone close, and push them far away.
“Words – so innocent and powerless as they are, as standing in a dictionary, how potent for good and evil they become in the hands of one who knows how to combine them.” ~Nathaniel Hawthorne
Isn’t that interesting? Side by side in a dictionary. Potent. Good or evil. “… in the hands of one who knows how to combine them…”
Words can build up and tear down. Inspire, or bring crushing defeat.
According to scripture it was the spoken word that framed everything we know. Ten times the bible records the phrase from the author, “And God Said…”. At his spoken word, things happened.
The apostle Paul referenced words and their usage often, many times speaking about them to congregations, cities and countries.
- “Nevertheless, in church I would rather speak five words with my mind in order to instruct others, than ten thousand words in a tongue.” (1 Corinthians 14:19 ESV)
- …unspeakable words… (2 Cor 12:4) …few words… (Eph 3:3) …vain words…(Eph 5:6)
- …enticing words… (Col 2:4) …flattering words… (1 Thes 2:5)
But is was the wording to Timothy, his protege, that takes on a deeper concentration of the use of words. Phrasing that grabs my attention this morning.
“For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer. If you put these things before the brothers, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, being trained in the words of the faith and of the good doctrine that you have followed. Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.” (1 Timothy 4:4-8 ESV)
We live in a world full of words. Some are there to instruct, others are there to bring doubt and confusion. Think about it, every language group has it’s own share of words that are common to them, and foreign to others. Slang, phrases, or even meanings of words take on different life in a different culture, even country.
Early this morning I read an article, “10 Quotes That Changed The Way We Look At The World” by Nick Robins-Early at The Huffington Post [click title to read the article]. It came to me via some social media or news outlet. I was intrigued enough to read, and reflect. While I can agree with some of the words and phrases used that reflected change to those of that time, I think that there are specific words that changed me in the way I look at the world around me.
Here are a few:
- You can do it… And I hear the voice of my parents, grandparents, and siblings when I think of this phrase. Whether it was to challenge me to jump off that high cliff into Menard Creek when swimming, or helping me to find the courage to balance that bike on two wheels.
- Jesus… You may think this strange, but I hear my grandmother speak His name often in my mind as a result of how she called on Him often.
- I am so proud of you... Graduating, completing a job, participating in group effort. Regardless of the situation to know that someone is proud of me for the job well done.
- I Love You… This stands alone and we all know it’s power.
- Want to go with me… As a young person looking up to older ones around me, these were words I often yearned for. A friend (Buddy Creel) taking me for a spin in his 1955 MG (co-owned of course), or even asking me to take my first road trip to relocate the family to Wyoming when I turned 16 (they needed a driver! YES!), or even asking me to eat out after church, spend the night, sing in the choir…
- You are so …. and then fill in the blank for the moment. To one who never remembered me telling her she was beautiful, or to one I never said how much I appreciated them enough, or to another who did not brag enough on accomplishments – these are words we do not speak often enough with feeling.
- Will you marry me… Choosing a life partner is so very important. Even at the age of 18 I knew who I wanted and was willing to plant the remainder of my life with this woman of choice.
I seldom get written responses to my blog, but I wonder if you would not take a moment and share some words that made a huge impact on you and the way you see the world around you… These words are important!