In today’s blog I will share about the power of words. This topic is so important to me because I myself experience and have experienced again and again what power words have in my life – words that were said to me or about me, and of course what meaning these words have. Not to mention the words I express in my daily life towards others. Our lives are shaped by encounters we have with others and, therefore, by the words that either come from us, are spoken to us, or about us. These words have an impact on our lives.
Our words are so important. We use them for daily communication. They are not only for the mere exchange of information but they have power, they can influence how we think and therefore act. They can be for good or they can be destructive. They can build up, be helpful, delight, encourage, spur, comfort, bring peace, teach, or simply make us happy. However, with our words we can also demotivate, destroy, discourage, deprive, lie to, and also deceive. So the words we use are important.
As a Christian, one of our core values should be to honor and treat our neighbor with respect. Our neighbor, just like us, is also made in the image of God (Genesis 9:6). He has fearfully and wonderfully made us. Thus, we are so precious. The fact that Jesus died on the cross for us shows how precious each individual is to Him. With this knowledge and the resulting basic attitude on our part, we need to treat our neighbors with respect and dignity.
Jesus is our role model. We follow Him and orient ourselves according to His behavior.
We do not look at the outward appearance of people but try to see others as Jesus sees them. Namely loved and precious.
In John 6:63 it says: “…The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.” Jesus spoke words of life and asked us to love one another in this way. John 13:34 says, ” A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.”
But that’s not all; He wants us to love not only one another but also our neighbor as you can read in Matthew 22:39. From Jesus’ mouth came words of grace (see Luke 4:22). If we treat people in such a way that they can trust us, know they are loved, are not afraid of rejection, and speak words of life to them, we can do much more in their lives.
It is so important that we choose our words carefully. Researchers have found that it takes five positive experiences to make up for one negative one. So negative experiences or even words seem to stay with us longer than the positive ones.
It is not only our words that speak. In addition to our audible words, we also speak with our body, with our facial expressions, and gestures. Paul Watzlawick, who was a communication theorist, a family therapist and a psychologist, once said: “One cannot, not communicate.” Our body posture is also an expression of our inner attitude. If our facial expressions and gestures are in harmony with what we say, we appear authentic. If this is not the case, the person we are talking to can sometimes recognize this discrepancy, which can express itself in a negative feeling.
This in turn gives information about our inner attitude. “Do I really believe what I say or do I only say it because I know from my mind that it is right?” It is important that it also slips into our heart and becomes part of us. For example, if I know from my mind that I am loved and precious and so is the other person, but my heart believes something else, that is a good reason to enter into conversation with God about it. This truth of His love and His esteem towards me, i.e., also the knowledge that we are precious, is the basic prerequisite for us to deal honestly and lovingly with ourselves and others.
When we love, we give everything not to hurt but to build up, to encourage, to see the positive in the other. Paul wrote in Ephesians 4:29, “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” To the Thessalonians he wrote, “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.”(1 Thess 5:11)
It is so important that we choose our words lovingly and thoughtfully. They make a difference. They can trigger so much good in a person. However, we need to know that our supposedly positive words can also evoke very different feelings. When they are associated with memories that may not always have been positive. Nevertheless, praise, appreciation, and recognition can build up, motivate, move us forward, strengthen and even help us to recognize our own gifts and talents and thus contribute to personal growth. Every human being has the need for personal recognition!
We have been given a gift to be able to speak. Let us use this gift to speak words of life to build up and encourage one another and follow Jesus’ example.