I’m not sure who thought that words “can never hurt me” was an adequate thing to teach young children, but I would LOVE to sit down with them to discuss how very wrong that is. I’m sure it was meant in a way that empowered kids to allow mean words to roll of their back, but I’m not sure of anyone who hasn’t had hurtful words stick with them through their life. I also know that words can empower people to do great things beyond what they ever imagined or believed to be true. Words are powerful, and must be utilized carefully.
We see things every day about words being incredibly hurtful and incredibly helpful. There’s currently a trending story about a Starbucks’ order that was labeled “diabetes here I come”. While anonymous or not, words like that can leave lasting impressions. I’ve had life and death spoken to me, and more often than not, the words of death always hit harder that the words of life. I wish it was the opposite, but truthfully I think we all have a bad habit of holding on to the lies we hear over the truths.
Words of life and death come from a few places; God/Satan, other people, and ourselves. Now obviously God’s Word is truth 100% all the time no matter what, and Satan is a master of lies. Unfortunately, people don’t always fall into just two categories. Sometimes words spoken in haste, even in love, can be twisted into negative things. Plenty of people struggle with perfectionism; when you’re told you’re “the perfect kid” for years and years, you begin to believe that anything less than perfect will be your demise. At the root, those words aren’t usually spoken harshly, but Satan can twist them into a life steeped in perfectionism and fear.
Words we speak to ourselves are sometimes the worst. We harp and nit-pick ourselves into darkness. We take the lies someone else has spoken and we begin to speak them into our own hearts. For me, I find myself speaking words of death over myself when I forget to let God take control. Recently, I’ve been struggling with body image issues that haven’t been around for a while. Factually, I have gained a little weight since moving out on my own, but my clothing still fits and I can still move around freely. But 12 lbs shouldn’t mean that I go coo-coo over my body! I openly discussed this with Dylan, and made the realization that because of the lies I’ve believed over the course of my life, I was allowing Satan to infiltrate my thoughts and shame me over nothing. Satan is really kind of mad that Dylan and I are dating because we’re pursuing God, so Satan is really trying to put an end to that. By reminding me of all the lies in my life, Satan is continually speaking death over me, and consequently, over my relationship. When I take my self-talk captive in God’s Truth, Satan’s words of death no longer hold any power.
This week, when you’re speaking to anyone – coworkers, kids, parents, friends, family, yourself – do a self-assessment to see if those things you say are life-giving. Are you building people up? Are you being kind and compassionate? Or are you believing the lies?