‘Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”’ John 6:68 NIV
“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12 NIV
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” John 1:1 ESV
“And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.” Genesis 1:3 NIV
Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me. I beg to differ. Words are powerful! Angry words. Hateful words. Gossip. Lying. Demeaning words. Shaming words. They are powerful. They destroy souls, from little children to vulnerable adults. I bet, no matter how healthy your family is or was, you’ve got word wounds. These words lead to resentments, addictions, self-loathing, isolation, discouragement and other damaging behaviors. James speaks of the tongue as unruly and a fire. Apparently, according the Bible, they bring death. Did you know the word sarcasm literally means to strip off flesh?
Then there’s God’s words. Life-giving, peaceable affirming, encouraging, comforting, inspiring and there’s disciplining too. If it’s a harsh critic or judgmental voice, it’s not God’s. We need to talk to ourselves as we would a dear friend. Several times a day I call myself something that’s discouraging or untrue. Do you too? Someone once said, “You cannot do to me what I can do to me.” Words.
Our words give life or take it away. “As a man thinks, so is he.” And so we speak. May we speak inspirational words, comforting words and loving words to ourselves and each other.
Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy.
O, Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love; For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; it is in dying that we are born again to eternal life.
St. Augustine’s Prayer