The power of words

Published 6:00 am Saturday, February 2, 2019

Words are perhaps our most powerful weapons in this life. As a writer, words are important to me. As a teacher, words were always important in the classroom. As a mother of an adult child, they still have power in my son’s life. We use words so freely, we may forget the impact our words have in the lives of others.

In the book by Gary Chapman, Love as a Way of Life, he says that words are either “bullets or seeds.” All of us have been the target of words in our lives that have been on different occasions both bullets and seeds. As words that come out of the mouths of others toward us have power, we also ought to weigh the impact of the words we speak before we speak them.

My personal motto is to, “Speak the truth in love.” It’s doing it with genuine love that trips me up. Because we are emotional creatures, what comes out of our mouths is framed by emotions good and bad. Angry, critical, self-defending, judgmental, disagreeable words ride out of our mouth on waves emotion and often result from our own wounds.

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What if everything we spoke to others in this life was purposeful and not just a response or reaction on our end of the conversation to what someone else has said or done?

I recently read these words in a Huffington Post article by Dr. Hyder Zahed. “Words are singularly the most powerful force available to humanity. We can choose to use this force constructively with words of encouragement, or destructively using words of despair. Words have energy and power with the ability to help, to heal, to hinder, to hurt, to harm, to humiliate, and to humble.”

In a peculiar way, words are alive. There is power in our words. Why would we ever use our words to tear others down, speak fear, worry, doubt, failure, or rejection into anyone’s life? This is definitely a misuse of the power contained in the gift of words.

God spoke the world into existence. The sound of His voice was the “big bang” that set everything in motion. Whether an individual believes that creation happened in seven human days, or over billions of years on a different time table, it is my belief that the voice of God was the beginning. His words framed the universe and life as we know it.

The book of Proverbs in the Bible shares this incredible concept about what we speak as human beings. “The power of life and death are in the tongue.” We are also cautioned that we will be held accountable for our words.

Words that come out of our mouths are a reflection of what is going on inside of us. Do we speak of death, sickness, worry, fear? Do we speak hateful words toward other individuals? Can we learn to control what comes out of our mouths in words so that we speak blessings, hope, life, peace and love every minute of every day? In our human state with so many things filtering into our minds and spirits from the world around us, it is a struggle to be deliberately positive, deliberately purposeful in the words we say and keep them flowing from a place of love.

What words others say to us or about us have a tendency to flow back out toward others. Good things are easily shared and passed on. Children are a good example. If they hear constant words of criticism, disrespect, defeat and low expectations aimed toward them, the words they speak to others will usually come out like vomit onto someone else. The verbally abused grow into verbal abusers. But a child who has been praised, encouraged, and received words of love will be a much kinder, gentler, happier and more successful human being.

“A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil [a]treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” (Luke 6:45 NKJV)

“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” (Philippians 4:8)

Reach longtime Enterprise columnist Judith Victoria Hensley at or on Facebook. Check out her blog: One Step Beyond the Door.