Words. I’ve always been good with words. Good in the sense that I’ve always been comfortable with them. Comfortable with letting them slip off my tongue, or fingers, and watching them fly. Sometimes for the good, but sometimes not.
In school. My English essays came home with “A” printed on the top with little notes saying, “Great imagery!” Or, “Can I use this as an example in my next class?” But my report cards came home with little notes listed on the side saying, “talks too much.” Or, “can be a distraction.”
At home. I knew how to tell a story without leaving out any details, and quip one liners to keep the family in stitches. I also knew how to poke at insecurities and say just the right thing to set my sister off, earning us both “verbal time outs” or a stern, “Sarcasm doesn’t make you smart,” from my parents.
With friends. I could cheer up and encourage when life got rough, bringing love and validation. Then turn around and spout out judgmental lines about how a classmate smells, just to earn a couple laughs.
You see, I’ve always been good with words, but I have not always used my words for good.
And words are powerful.
I’ve done my fair share of growing up since high school and like to think that I’ve tightened the reign on my tongue, at least a little. I’m in a profession where I have the immense honor of listening to peoples’ stories and using my words to help foster hope in their lives. I write for fun, but also with the desire that my words can be used as a balm on someone’s hurt or confusion- helping them to know they are not alone. I do my best to speak love and life into and over my kids, using my words to point them to Jesus and let them know they are safe and loved.
I TRY to use my words for good now. Do I slip up? Yes. Do I find myself wishing I could take back some snide remark or sarcastic response? Absolutely. Do I speak harshly to my husband and my children? Unfortunately, more often than I’d like to admit.
But, I’m making an intentional effort to TRY to heed James’ warning in the Bible about the, “world of evil amongst the parts of the body.”
Because words are so so powerful. They can be used for great and magnificent works- or they can be used for destruction and chaos.
The apostle John says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” And in Genesis, God “Spoke” the world into existence.
Words birth creations into existence.
It is up to us what type of creations we are bringing forth into this fallen world by way of our words. Are we speaking words of encouragement to help build people up? Or are we spewing out criticisms and judgments to tear people down?
That little “thing” you had to tell your friend… Was it celebratory news that’s birthing admiration for a mutual friend? Or was it gossip about someone you have a problem with that you allow to burst forth like spider eggs hatching from your mouth to scurry around, spreading filth and pain and distrust?
Use your words to create powerful love and acceptance.
Use your words to bring peace and healing.
Use your words to bring light and life into dark places of hurt and sadness.
And friends, if we use our tongues to praise Jesus as our savior- please please, let’s be intentional about using our words to point people to that savior, instead of turning them away.
Let’s not just be good with words, let’s use them for good.