“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me!”
Do you remember those words as a child when you were being harassed? We would chant them back at our attacker, knowing very well that those words spoken to us were cutting deep into our spirits. Yet we felt it was a way to protect our hearts; kind of like putting up an invisible force field. Perhaps if we said the chant louder to our attackers their words would not penetrate us as deep. It seemed negative words rang in our ears far louder than the positive ones did.
A person seems to know instinctively to try to guard their hearts from hurt. It is so important because out of a heart springs a well of life.
“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” Proverbs 4:23, (NLT)
There are a lot of broken people in our world. Their words can be hateful. That is why we, who call ourselves believers, have to be even more careful how we speak to others. It isn’t just because it represents the Lord, but because it represents our own hearts and can bring life and death to those around us.
Proverbs has many places in its passages that explain how the foolish use their words destructively and that it will eventually bring ruin to themselves and those around them. Yet it pleads to the reader to seek wisdom. It eventually states that there is life and death in the power of the tongue. Proverbs 18:21 (NIV)
I suppose that is why the Psalmist said, ” May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.” PS 19:14
There is power in our words. It is with words that the Lord created the world. “Let there be light,” he said. And there was light! There is creative power in the things we say and even in the very thoughts that are hidden in our minds.
In fact you can find sympathy cards that state: “You are in our thoughts and prayers” or “sending good thoughts your way.” What are positive words or thoughts suppose to do?Actually they may do more than we realize. If it was the power of words that created our world, can you envision the power of words that can create hope in someone?
Adults that constantly criticize young people can create the way a child thinks about himself and eventually affect their actions. I know first hand. I had a teacher in first grade whose words were consistently harsh towards me. As young as 6-years-old, I had begun to have negative thoughts about myself.
Fortunately my 3 grade teacher thought so much differently about me. Her words of encouragement filled my heart with a positive attitude. It made such a difference to me regarding how I thought about myself. By the time I left her classroom I was a different person.
Believing in myself, I graduated as the salutatorian of my class in highschool. I say that to confirm the power of words. Can you imagine the other road I could have taken had I believed in the negative words? My thoughts about myself had been renewed.
It is in our thought life that both good and evil are birthed. It is there that creative ideas are imagined. It is there that we decide if we can accomplish a task or give up. It is there where we consider what we will be when we grow up. It is there that we choose a path for our lives, where to live, who to date, what job to take, etc…
That is why 1 Corinthians talks about having the mind of Christ. It states that only the Spirit knows the deep things of God. It is just like our own thoughts; no one knows them but ourselves. That is why people who do not have the spirit of God in them do not understand God’s way of thinking; it seems foolish. But if we have Him in our hearts, we begin to learn what the Spirit is saying. Eventually we begin to walk with the mind of Christ and make our choices accordingly.
Philippians goes on to state that he will keep our hearts and minds in peace if we are not anxious. And where does anxiety begin? It begins in our minds or thoughts. What we think about, what we put into our hearts, what we meditate on will eventually be what we say and do. Good or evil will come out of our mouth because it was first stored in our hearts and in our minds.
I once heard an evangelist share that he taught these concepts to his little boy. One day he took his child to a store and the man in front of him in the check-out line was swearing up a storm. Suddenly the boy pulled on his daddy’s jacket and asked, “Daddy, is there s@#% in that man’s heart?” The father was extremely embarrassed until the man’s girlfriend turned around and looked down at the little boy and said, “Yes, honey, there is.”
“A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart. Luke 6:45 (NLT)
Yes, I have interchanged heart and mind (and even thoughts) as I wrote. I know there is a saying that states, “Should you follow your heart or your mind?” But I personally think that refers to following your feelings versus your reasoning. I guess what I am trying to relay is this simple statement, “garbage in, garbage out.” What you meditate on (think about) will eventually find its way out in some sort of expression.
But I also want to add that it is EXTREMELY important what you say to those around you and even what you think or say about yourself. What are you speaking? Are you speaking death and hopelessness or life and hope?
I challenge you to speak life, even in a corrupt world of political unrest, angry souls, unjust standards and simple foolishness.
LIFE-the true power of the life of Christ, the light of the world, will ALWAYS dispel darkness and death.