How many times have you been hurt by the words of others? How many times have your words hurt others, intentionally or unintentionally? Words have power, more power than what we can imagine. Words can build each other up, and words can also tear people down. Words help us understand the heart of others.
In my life, I have heard a lot of happy words, angry words, funny words, etc. Each word can inspire an emotion or a feeling in the recipient. For me personally, words have a lot of impact. Words that are said to me often dictate whether my day is a good day or a bad day. Words of affirmation is my love language, and kind words are how I know I am loved. But when I get criticism, whether on a paper, a mistake, or worse, it causes my self worth to fall. While my self worth should not be based on this, I think this shows the impact words can have.
However, we are in a culture that just throws out words. The popularity of expletives has skyrocketed, and this is extremely apparent everywhere we look. I understand the word that comes out when you stub your toe. However, very often, I go on Facebook or Instagram and see expletives. I turn on the radio and the frequency of the vulgar language is alarming. These word choices in songs and online are not coming out accidently, but purposely. These words have become so ingrained in our culture in our minds, we do not see how they impacts us and those around us.
Chaplain Lowe gave a great chapel talk recently discussing Ephesians. The part that hit me the most was his discussion on words. As Christians, we have a responsibility to share the gospel with others. The Lord can empower us with our words to help reach lost souls. Yet if we use our words to hurt others or don’t carefully consider the words we use, then we are not being the best examples of Christ to others.
I am not saying we need to all become perfect, because we will never even come close to perfection. What I am saying is we need to become more conscious of the things we do and the things we say. We need to think through our words before they leave our mouths. A lot of this Chaplain Lowe said in chapel, but I reiterate this because it is important. People hear our words and believe what we say is what we actually believe. Words are representations of what happens in the heart. If we are gossiping, saying hurtful things, or using expletives, then those words are showing the world what is in our hearts. If we say kind things about others to others, encouraging others, we show the world the love of the Lord.
Words have the power to build people up and tear them down. We as Christians have the opportunity to use our words to love others and share the gospel. Why would we ever use our words for anything else?