The Power of Words
Marybeth Whalen

“When your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart’s delight, for I bear your name, O Lord God Almighty.” Jeremiah 15:16 (NIV)

Whenever I park my car, I immediately depress the emergency brake. I have done this ever since I was in college and bought a new car from a dealership. As I took that car for a test drive, the salesman told me something I have never forgotten: “Never let the transmission hold the car. Use your emergency brake.” As a result of that one statement, I have used the emergency brake ever since. Not only that, but I’ve encouraged my husband to do it too. I imagine when our kids start driving, we will even teach them to do it.

The truth is, I never even checked to see if what that salesman told me is correct. I never asked someone else or did research to see if he knew what he was talking about. I took the word of this person I spent a few hours with when I was twenty-years-old. For the rest of my life, his words have stuck with me. The other day, I wondered how many other offhanded comments like this I have taken to heart and adopted as truth in my life? How often do I do this with other people’s words?

Words are powerful. We take the things people say to us to heart whether we intend to do so or not. Words have ways of sneaking past our defense mechanisms and penetrating deeply into our soul. We might try to disregard or shrug off the things others say to us, yet we find ourselves recalling the hurt, the sting, or the doubt those words stirred up. The words of a friend, neighbor or mere acquaintance can affect us for better or worse.

In hindsight, perhaps I should have checked on the words of the car salesman by asking others for advice or checking a guide. This is true of anyone’s words. Instead of accepting and indoctrinating someone’s offhanded comment, we need to take those words before God. We need to ask Him if the words are true. What is His opinion of the issue?

Particularly when someone’s words rub us the wrong way us, we need to hold these words up to the light of His Word. By doing this, we will feel His peace. We will experience the freedom of being released from the hold these words have had on us.

Don’t let the words of others inflict unnecessary harm on you. We say things we shouldn’t every day—never realizing the mark we leave. And yet, the very thing someone said without thinking can so easily penetrate our hearts forever. God loves you. He wants to free you from the falsehoods you have mistakenly adopted as truth in your life. Take time today to seek His truth in your life. Spend time reading His Word to hear what He has to say about you. Don’t just take someone else’s word for it!

Dear Lord, Please help me to let go of the hurt I have held onto because of what others have said to me. I want to know what You have to say to me instead of believing the wrong things. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Additional Resources:
30 Days to Taming Your Tongue by Deborah Smith Pegues

Becoming a Woman Who Listens to God by Sharon Jaynes

Out of the Mouth of Babes by Wendy Pope

Application Steps:
Live your life aware of the power of others’ words and make a habit of immediately stopping hurtful words in their tracks through prayer—before they take root in your heart.

Reflection Points:
What hurtful words have you taken to heart that you need to release through prayer and time in God’s word? What does God have to say to you about those words?

Power Verses:
Psalm 12:6, “And the words of the Lord are flawless, like silver refined in a furnace of clay, purified seven times.” (NIV)

II Samuel 22:31, “As for God, His way is perfect; the word of the Lord is flawless. He is a shield for all who take refuge in Him.” (NIV)

Proverbs 30:6, “Do not add to God’s words, or he will rebuke you and prove you a liar.” (NIV)

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Blogger Lori said...

For fun, I checked an automotive website regarding the information you were given. Yes, the salesman almosted quoted the information verbatim. Thank you for another inspiring word that points me to the Word! Be Blessed! Lori :)

Blogger pdb said...

Thank you for these words and I do pray people will take them to heart. I wrote and presented a speech once on how words affect us. It is amazing the research proved words hurt and do more damage than physical abuse. If it has that much negative power we must remember it has that much positive power as well. Choose your words carefully as at some point in time you may have to eat them. Always, always praise a child! Even if you have to correct him or disipline her, never do it with negative words. Always do it in an encouraging manner. Explain you discipline because you love them. Do not call them names but lift them up with love. Jesus rebuked His disciples but He did it lovingly, even Judas at the Last Supper.
Words never go away. They linger around us forever. As you took for granted what the salesman said, so do our friends, children, spouse and family when we tell them they are stupid for what they did or they are ignorant or whatever you may say. They do take that to heart and hear it over and over in their heads. Think of what you would like to hear and turn that around to others.

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