Sunday, September 21, 2008


Words are amazing. They have so much power at times, and at others seemingly have no effect whatsoever. Isn't it crazy just how our words shape and form the world's of those around us. In an effort to get some sleep tonight I am going to try not to ramble too much. By the way, as I type this I am wearing my new glasses...weird. So much for not rambling. Anyway...

Words are strange. For some they are all that matters, yet for others they hold no value anymore. Some would say that "someones word is their bond" but is that ever true. Sadly for me, I know that my actions do not always line up with my words. It is an interesting question to ponder though. Jesus says this in Matthew 12:34: "Out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks." How then do we interpret someone who speaks with best intentions, yet whose actions fail to follow through? I am not suggesting that Jesus missed the point, only this; in my life, I consider a person's actions to be a more accurate representation of their heart. Intent of the heart can become quickly irrelevant when the actions of the heart are contradictory. I believe the actions of a person are what truly defines them, not what they say.

Back to words though...isn't it amazing the impact that words can have on us. Words that in other contexts would be meaningless can carry a nuclear warhead in other circumstances. And the most gut wrenching thing about our words is this...once they are out there, they can't be erased. Once my words hit someone else's ear they are burned into their brain, especially if they are hostile words. That sucks. Sometimes we just say things without thinking, and at that point, its already too late. Take for example the couple who is having a rough season in their marriage. In the heat of battle the words "I want a divorce" are fired off. A word missile of this caliber is laser guided straight for the heart. Even if there was no intent behind the words, they have struck the target and done major damage. How do you recover from a mistake like that? I don't know.

It is true though that words are like fire. Adding more fire to fire will never stop the blaze. Words poured onto hostile words, even peaceful, loving words, I'm sorry words, often do not do anything to heal the wounds created in the first place. Trust has been introduced into the mix at some point. Words without action erode trust. Trust cannot be rebuilt with words. That would be like rebuilding the walls of a city with cans of gasoline. One errant word and BOOM! Trust must be rebuilt with actions. Actions of the heart.

The thing about words and the heart is that together they can create something beautiful. I believe that God created our hearts to be impacted by others. One of the ways others can impact us is through words. God created our hearts as to be mouldable and shapable by others. Unfortunately for us, that means we have the choice. We often don't do very well in that scenario. My words have the opportunity to encourage or destroy the spirit of those around me. So often I do not consider the ramifications of my words before they escape my heart. I have been thinking about this for a while now. In what I get to do here on the mission field, and in my life in general, I come into contact with a lot of people. Our organization works with over 8000 volunteers a year, that's not counting the people we interact with across the border. We have the opportunity to be Jesus to all these people. For me in particular, when I interact with anyone, but in this case, volunteers, especially high school and college age folks, I have an awesome opportunity. I have the opportunity to let God speak through me and into someone elses heart. Words have a way of implanting themselves in people's hearts. This is God's design. How else could it be that our lives are often affected by something that was said to or about us many years ago?

At the end of the day, this is what it comes down to... I don't want a momentary lapse in judgment, or an errant slip of the tongue to be responsible for a therapy session in someone elses life ten years down the road. We have no idea of knowing how our words will impact anyone else. I do not want to waste opportunities to build others up, or implant words in their heart that would reflect the heart of God. I have such an incredible opportunity and many times I forget it. In an effort to bring this thing to some kind of scatterbrained conclusion, take a moment with me, and consider what words have impacted or shaped your life. Either in a negative, or positive way, words have helped form your character and who you are. The odds that the person who said these words to you even remembering them is likely zero. This tells me one very very important thing. It is the words I say that seem insignificant, meaningless, or inconsequential that will most likely have the greatest impact on someone else's life. I believe the same is true for you as well.

Forgive me for forgetting the power you have instilled in me. Forgive me for using the opportunities to display your beauty as a weapon. God give me the wisdom to speak words of life and encouragement into the hearts of those who are around me. God, give me the patience to know when not to say anything at all. Help me to realize the impact that I might have for you. I pray now for all those in my life that have been shaped by negative, thoughtless words. Especially those who have been the victim of my words. God bring healing to the hurting, and peace to the restless. Reveal yourself to those who continue to run from you. Thank you God. Your glory is truly in the grace that you offer, time and time again.


*NOTE. The aforementioned hypothetical situation about the "divorce" comment is just that...hypothetical, and is not a word that is used in our home.

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