Have you ever been hurt by the words of others? Of course you have. All of us, at one point or another, have been scarred by these silly sounds that reverberate out of our mouths.
If we’re honest, we are all guilty of being the assassin spitting words like daggers, destroying and humiliating others with the poison from our tongues.
Words can cut like knives.
When I was in college, my dorm mates and I became close friends, except for this one student who was awkward and desperate for acceptance. He was overweight, insecure and searching for friends, which he consistently sought with me and the other guys in the dorm. I wasn’t a bully in college; I promise. But sometimes we lose sight of who we are called to be, destroying others with our words in the attempt to build ourselves up. That is what happened one day when I was driving my friends, only to see this guy walking by himself on the side of the road. I stopped the car and let him join us, appearing to be a good guy. When he got in, he said, “How did you know it was me?” In the effort to be cool with my friends, I replied, “Because I saw a short, fat kid walking on the side of the road who looked just like you.”
I destroyed him.
I also destroyed myself in the process. I felt sick, like I had just vomited all over someone else. How could I be so cruel???
Those words ate at him for months, regardless of the apologies and the forgiveness he gave. It took a very long time for him to consider me a friend, which we would later become.
Interesting fact: these words I spoke that harmed someone else have stayed with me for a decade. When you spew poisonous words onto others, you’re actually harming yourself as much as the victim.
Our words have more power than we will ever realize, whether they are words of encouragement or words that destroy. Maybe your parents have told you that you’ll amount to nothing. It’s possible that someone you cared for told you that they no longer cared in return. Maybe you have been told that you’re not good enough, not talented enough, or not smart enough to succeed at your dreams. Maybe you’re the one speaking these words to others…
Whatever the case may be, what words are you believing about yourself? What words are you communicating about others?
“A bit in the mouth of a horse controls the whole horse. A small rudder on a huge ship in the hands of a skilled captain sets a course in the face of the strongest winds. A word out of your mouth may seem of no account, but it can accomplish nearly anything—or destroy it! It only takes a spark, remember, to set off a forest fire. A careless or wrongly placed word out of your mouth can do that. By our speech we can ruin the world, turn harmony to chaos, throw mud on a reputation, send the whole world up in smoke and go up in smoke with it, smoke right from the pit of hell. It only takes a spark, remember, to set off a forest fire. A careless or wrongly placed word out of your mouth can do that. By our speech we can ruin the world, turn harmony to chaos, throw mud on a reputation, send the whole world up in smoke and go up in smoke with it, smoke right from the pit of hell.” – James 3:5-6 MSG
If someone has torn you down and destroyed you with their words, my prayer is that you will find healing and realize that those words don’t have the right to define you.
If you have been cruel to others in your words, it’s time to begin building others up, rather than tearing them down.
Yes, our words can cut like knives, but they can also serve as a healing salve to the soul, bringing hope, encouragement, love, and strength to others.
“Worry weighs us down; a cheerful word picks us up.” – Proverbs 12:25
You have power with your words, more than you will ever know.
What world will you create with your words?