Sheila's Reflections

“The Power Of Words”

July 2006

For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O Lord,
thou knowest it altogether.  -  Psalms 139:4


 Even since I learned to read, words, have fascinated me… their meaning, their sounds, their descriptiveness, how to use them in a sentence… just everything about them. After I was saved, it didn’t take me long to realize the “Bible” was filled with a gold mine of verses, all about our words. Thus began a word study journey that I am still on today… forty years later!

Most of us remember the little saying we learned in elementary school… “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.” Well, the author of these words must have lived in a fairy tale world where mice turned into men and pumpkins turned into carriages! This little saying doesn’t hold an ounce of truth about words and their effect on our lives. Words can harm us and cause great damage. They can hurt us so deeply that it’s hard to breathe or even function! It wouldn’t surprise me to know that right now, this very instant, you can recall with accuracy a time when you were deeply wounded by some harshly spoken words. Maybe, on the other hand you are remembering a time when you were the guilty offender… speaking hurtful words that deeply wounded someone.

Looking back, I too can easily recall an incident that took place when I was a seventh grader during study hall. The attack of vicious words from a girl I’d known since before grade school left everyone else and myself speechless. When I finally got over the initial shock of being verbally torn to shreds, part of me wanted to lash back with a vengeance… causing her
heart to feel as beat up as mine did! It didn’t matter that she regularly engaged in the
practice of slinging hurtful words to everyone at some time or the other… that day having
her center me out to be on the receiving end was devastating to my young heart. But, thank the good Lord I didn’t respond in like manner. Had I done so, my conduct would have been just as “UN-Christian” and UN-becoming as hers. Sharing my response back to her is not important, but I can truthfully say I’ve never had to be ashamed of it or had to ask
forgiveness for the response I gave.

After this encounter every time I let my mind stray to that day I was overcome with the same level of pain inflicted on my heart. For all the world, it felt as if it had taken place the day before instead of years earlier. The hurts of that day, along with other times of being hurt, had taken on a life of their own. They had become “memorials” I visited quite frequently… Keepsakes I needed to let go of!

As I began to mature in my walk with the Lord, He opened my eyes to a simple, but profound truth… that I was in a prison of my own making. By hanging onto the hurtful and damaging words from my past I was inviting bitterness to take root in my life. Talk about getting my attention – that certainly did! I’d seen first hand how tormented a bitter person could be and frankly it wasn’t a pretty sight. Right then and there I cried out in desperation to God and He put in my path the way for me to be freed from the prison I was in.

The steps to take became so clear to me… I had to first forgive myself, then forgive those who had offended me, and finally I had to ask for God’s forgiveness. So, the solution to my dilemma was simply forgiveness. Just by embracing and acting upon the concept of forgiveness the hurtful words of my past lost their power to keep me enslaved. Forgiveness released and freed me to live in victory… forgiveness purged me from the effect the words of my past had on me. Forgiveness allowed me to recall theses times of my past without reliving the hurt all over again… forgiveness is the key to being healed!

In Proverbs 18:21 scripture tells us that, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue; and they that love it shall eat the fruit, thereof.” Read in Proverbs 18:8 and it states that, “The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly.” Now if we look at Proverbs 16:24 it lets us know that, “Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.” Just by reading theses few verses we see the significance words are in our lives. Words shape us, they are powerful weapons, they can break up marriages, separate best friends, split churches, inflict emotional pain, start wars, damage a person’s spirit, and ruin a person’s testimony. On the other side of this coin… words can encourage the broken hearted, restore relationships, unify churches and families, bring healing to a dying marriage, can affirm or validate, produce peace in a stormy situation, diffuse anger, can fill a person with joy, calm fears, and free us through forgiveness.

It’s so important for us to be aware of the power of our words, the damage or affirmation they leave behind, the scarring or healing left in their path, and the curse or blessing they speak into a person’s life.

Once spoken, our words are out there! They can’t be retrieved! Wouldn’t it be wonderful if they could? But they can be rendered powerless! How, you might ask? By us investing in and making regular deposits of good words into the lives of others… by us putting a guard over our mouth, and by us quickly putting into action the steps of forgiveness when we do transgress with our words.  This is the philosophy I live by and from my personal experience I know it works!

I hope you will reflect on how the use of words has effected your life and how the words you’ve spoken has impacted the lives around you. If you are enslaved and behind the prison bars of your own making my prayer is for you to be freed through forgiveness. Then you can live a productive life for Christ and be an instrument in pointing others to freedom.

With deep conviction, I’d like to challenge each of us to be living testimonies to the verse Psalm 19:14, “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.

                                         God bless you until our next visit,


2006, Search The Word Ministry