I have one more good post in me about words. Well, for now. I reserve the right to revisit.
I read a great book yesterday. The timing was not a coincidence considering all of the recent speech control.
The book is called, Listen by Rene Gutteridge. It is a fictional story about the power of words. The plot is about an idyllic, small town where a website was created that posted conversations from within people’s homes in which people were speaking about others.
Just imagine for one minute that your most private conversations about friends and family or church members were recorded, perhaps by cell phones and published for all the world to see.
It might change the way you talk, right?
“We know metals by their tinkling and men by their talking.”–Thomas Brooks
Have you ever sent a text to the wrong person? I have. And the text I sent was about the person I sent the text to! It wasn’t anything bad, but for those few moments when I realized that my words could have been misconstrued, I was afraid! The damage could have been irreparable.
Our family is unusually carefully with our words. We have been taught numerous times about the power of the tongue. We know that God created all things with His words and according to Proverbs, the power of life and death is in the tongue. I really could go on and on about this, but I’m not trying to preach a sermon.
Consider words spoken about you when you were a child that did damage, either at home or by other kids. How much did that shape you whether you wanted it to or not? That whole “sticks and stones” thing is a bunch of garbage.
When my kids were small, if someone put someone else down, they had to then say at least five compliments to the other person to try to redeem their words. And things like, “I like how you take a deep breath,” or “I like how your hair is so long,” didn’t count. But one point for creativity and making us laugh when we were really mad.
At our house you will never hear things like, “My headache is killing me!”, or “That makes me sick!” We take those words seriously because we only want to speak good things and give power to the awesome things God wants for us. Not the negative. You might think it’s crazy but there was a Flyleaf song that we all really liked and the kids would all sing it. It was called, I’m So Sick and we talked about how maybe we shouldn’t be claiming those words by singing that song. Well, it was a catchy tune and sing it, we did. Within days the entire family was quite ill and it wasn’t pretty. Coincidence?
Needless, to say, we don’t sing that song anymore.
My dad never heard these ideas to my knowledge, but I remember being a little girl and hearing him say that he thought the most stupid swear word to say was, “I’ll be darned.” Only the word wasn’t ‘darned’ but I’m not gonna type that naughty word. He said that one would have to be pretty stupid to open that invitation. Interesting.
As many of us are working on controlling our words these days, this is even more relevant. While you are conscious of what you are saying, be even more conscious of the strength of your words.
Consider this…Do words change the world when spoken, or do they change the person speaking them? Or maybe both.
“A sharp tongue is the only edge tool that grows keener with constant use.”–Washington Irving
Keep spreading the word. Issue the challenge to quit complaining to those you know. Let’s keep this going. If you fail, just switch the bracelet and move on. Don’t give up. This is about the awareness not the accomplishment.
The pastor who gave birth to this movement of bracelet-wearing, non-complainers took three and a half months to keep his bracelet on the same arm. Others have needed seven months!
I don’t care if I wear this bracelet all year. I want to make the most valiant effort possible to control my mouth. According to James 3, I’ll never do it on my own.
“Post this at all the intersections, dear friends: Lead with your ears, follow up with your tongue, and let anger straggle along in the rear.” James 1:19 The Message