Thursday, June 6, 2013

The Power of Words

Words are one of the most effective tools or weapons we have. Why? Because they hit us where we are most vulnerable. 
Our emotions.
 Words have always had a powerful effect on me. In good ways, and more at the forefront of my memory, bad ways. A few days ago I had some words said to me that fall into the "bad" category. The worst part of it was that the person was trying to make it seem like they were complimenting me or sharing these things because they are my friend. In the last few years, I have gone through a lot.  My health; the many emotions that go along with it; and making some difficult life decisions that affected people I care about. Whenever you make a decision that involves someone else, there will most likely always be criticism. Sometimes from those who do not know why the decision was made in the first place. Speculations are made and the next thing you know the opinion some people have of you is lowered. The person that I was talking to had a pre-assumed view of me. In the disguise of kindness, I was getting jab after jab. It's difficult for me to think that some people are putting me in a box and thinking they know me, when they don't. Especially, after I had fervently prayed and asked God to show me what to do; and knowing that my decision, while painful, was the one the Lord wanted me to make. To be attacked about it was a bit shocking and hurtful. What is hard to accept is that not everyone is going to be okay with me. Their are going to be people who think something is wrong with me or that I am not a very good person; and that's life. 

On the flip side, I am surrounded by family and friends who truly love and know me. Ever heard the quote "Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind."Dr. Seuss really knew what he was talking about with that last part. I think it is so common for us to pay the most attention to the people who criticize us. Somehow, we put their opinions about us at the top of our list, when they should go to the bottom. Why would we put such stock in words that are the direct opposite of loving and kind? Unfortunately, a lot of the time I pay to much attention to them. Words go very deep with me. Plus, I never want to think someone might not like me. 

Words, spoken and heard, should be something that builds someone up and makes them feel encouraged. Not something that cuts and leaves scars. Sometimes, criticism can be a good thing. It makes you examine yourself to see if there is truth in what was said, and then you, with God's help, can try to change. But, there is a big difference between constructive criticism and intending to wound criticism. In this recent case, what was said to me was meant to hurt. I had to work through what was said to me, just like every other time it has happened. It took a lot of prayer and talks with my very wise mother to get me past it. It also helped that a couple days after it happened, I got to spend the afternoon with some good friends and even reconnected with some old ones! 

Because words have such a powerful impact on me, I try really hard to say all that Jesus would want me to speak. It doesn't always happen, but I'm working on it! One of the most important things I can remember is how I feel when something mean is said to me; and that I never want to make anyone else feel that way. I cannot control what others say, but I can control what comes out of my mouth; and I hope and pray that my words are encouraging. Wouldn't it be so much better if the things you want to be said to you... you're saying to the people around you? I sure think it would!       

Don't use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them. - Ephesians 4:29

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