"Speech has power. Words do not fade. What starts out as a sound, ends in a deed." -Abraham Joshua Herschel
Words are powerful. For the greater part my upbringing the church only taught me of the destructive force. Growing up in church I was taught from the Bible that “the tongue is a fire.” I was reminded to watch what I say because “The tongue (words) is able to destroy.” Consequently, the Bible talks more about the life giving force that words can have. The church I grew up in never actually taught me how to do that. let's be hones, It is more likely that I was not listening that part. My words can hurt, and regretfully over the years I have used them for that purpose. The things we say can only take ten seconds to come out of our mouth but 10 years later they can leave wounds that fester in the soul. In contrast, they can give a person the courage and grace they need to become the person they were created to be. Recently I discovered that I am a seven on the enneagram scale which means God created me with the gift of gab (I talk a lot!). Thoughts come quick and out my mouth they fly without much intentionality. As you all know what can be a strength also has a dark side to it. My words can be like helium lifting others up or they can weigh 10,000 pounds keeping people down. Sadly, I am not always aware of how heavy they can be when I hand them out. I am learning to speak intentionally because words actually matter.
My friend Doug is very precise about his words. He is one of those people who has made it a habit to only speak things that bring life to others. On many instances he stares deep into my eyes (sometimes uncomfortably!) and tells me about the man I am going to be. He constantly reminds me of the gifts I’ve been given and how they are going to change peoples lives. It always feels awkward at first but deep in my heart I can feel my soul rise. A few years ago during a difficult season of life I was sitting at a coffee shop listening to music in my headphones. Life felt heavy and I had been doubting myself in just about every way. The weight of my role in life had drug me into a bit of depression and that morning I just needed to get out of the house. While sitting in comfy leather chair with my eyes closed listening to music, I was overcome with an immense sense of sadness and ineptness. My inner voice was telling me that I was not the leader or the person I was supposed to be. It was telling me I was a failure. As I sat there in the chair I felt a hand firmly touch my chest. I opened my eyes and there was Doug! His lips were moving and he was staring into my soul (like he does!) I pulled my headphones out to hear him say:
“You are more than you could ever know. “The Father is so proud of you Shawn. He is going to do greater things though you than you believe can happen. Do not listen to the devil today but only the promises of God in Jesus name!”
Instantly I knew I had heard from the Lord. To this day I don’t know if words can express how those words help to lift me out of my situation. They served as a fuel for me to get up and take hold of God and face my difficult situation head on. My friend did not know what was going on inside me, he had merely made a habit to speak life to all he encounters. What if we could all make a habit to speak life into others? Would it make us weird? Yes… But is that a bad thing?
What my friend understands better than most, is that the weight of the world is heavy. It is so heavy that we find ourselves believing lies. The world we live in tells us we are not enough, we don’t have enough, we are not being enough. It causes us to lose sight of who we are supposed to be. Our hearts know that we are created for something more than we are doing. Deep in our bones we know we are created to make some sort of impact around us and most have a sense that they are not. All of us need people to speak life to us and we need to do the same. We need to become the people that remind one other that we are more than what the world tells us. We are more and we will be more. Today, I am trying to be more mindful of my words. It only takes a few words to change the life of others. Words that may not mean much to me can stick to a person for a lifetime. So which words will you use?