July 20, 2016
Humans communicate in a variety of ways, including body language, eye contact or lack of, and acknowledging or ignoring. These means of sending a message to another person may not include actual words, but they are powerful, in that actions often speak louder than words.
I have been pondering the impact of the actual spoken word. To a person who is pursuing something potentially harmful, the sound of the word “stop” might save a lot of heartache, maybe even their life. In another situation, the crucial word might be “run.” Another significant word is “wait.” The writer of Ecclesiastes reminded us that there is an appropriate time for everything. The power of a word involves the context of the situation and knowing when to speak or be silent.
Words can have a long life. Wedding vows are words that should be viewed as a promise lasting to the end of our life. This gives security and confidence to the marriage relationship. But hurtful words live long as well. “You are worthless” or “I hate you” may take decades to repair – even when spoken in haste and everyone knows we did not really mean what we said.
Our culture has conditioned us to be skeptical of words. Humans are not always able to fulfill what we promise. This reality can affect the way we hear Words from Creator God – the One Who always keeps His Word. Confidence builds from words kept over time.
Social media has made it easy to say words without seeing the face of the listener, making it easier to use hurtful language that might not have been shared if the sender was actually in the presence of the receiver. It is important to consider how our words will feel to that person. We need to hear ourselves from their perspective.
Jesus spoke Words of hope and peace to hurting people. When humanity said, “We condemn You,” Jesus said, “I forgive you.” Proverbs 12:25 says, “Worry weighs a person down; an encouraging word cheers a person up.” Kind words stay in our mind long after they are heard.
Pastor Bill Ehmann