The Power of Words

Inspirational Stories blogger Michelle Medlock Adams' two daughters as children

We had just experienced a wonderful service at Eagle Mountain International Church in Fort Worth, Texas, about the power of our words, and as we loaded the girls into our SUV, they were already fussing at each other.

I tried to ignore their bickering, still replaying Pastor George’s message in my head and heart. We hadn’t taken the girls to children’s service that morning, electing to let them stay in “big service” with us. I thought they had just been coloring and playing dolls during church, but I soon discovered they had actually been listening.

“You’re a stupid head,” 6-year-old Abby said to her little sister. “Ally is a stupid head. Ally is a stupid head.”

Just as I was about to intervene, Ally blurted out: “Mom, Abby is making bad confessions over me.”

Jeff and I both tried to choke back laughter at the very accurate comment. Our little 4-year-old understood the power of words that day, and she didn’t want her big sister saying anything negative about her. Apparently, Pastor George’s message had made an impact on little Allyson, as well.

Proverbs 18:21 says the tongue holds the power of life and death. The Scriptures also say that the tongue, though it is a small part of the human body, can make great boasts and cause immense damage. If you’ve ever been on the receiving end of hurtful words, you know the truth of that.

“Words both challenge and change us. Words deeply affect us. An unruly and unkind tongue can wound us,” explains Paul Davis, minister and author of Breakthrough for a Broken Heart. “That being said, anything spoken to you contrary to the Word of God can be discarded as you renew your mind according to Scripture.”

That’s what I’ve had to do when hurtful words have been said to me, and that’s what you’ll have to do if you’re stinging from cutting comments.

We need to learn to combat negative words with God’s Word. If someone says, “You are a loser. You will never amount to anything,” don’t think on those untruths. Instead, remind yourself what God says about you. He says, “You are the head and not the tail. You are an overcomer! You can do all things through Christ who gives you strength.”

Others’ words can deeply affect us, but our words can also deeply affect others. What are you saying to your family, friends, coworkers and acquaintances? Do you build up with your words, or do you tear down?

Taming the tongue begins with controlling your emotions and allowing God to fill you up with his love because our words essentially are an overflow of what lives in our hearts. If your heart is full of love, peace, joy, contentment, grace and self-control, then your mouth will be full of the same.

Practice building up the people in your life this week. Here are a few phrases to get you started:

  • You make my life happier just by being in it.
  • I love you, and I believe in you.
  • You have special qualities that no one else has.
  • You can do it!
  • You are a gift from God!
  • I am so thankful for you.
  • You are a bright spot in my life.

Take every opportunity to use your words to encourage and uplift the people you encounter each day, and don’t think it’s OK to say ugly things to others. It’s never OK, and to quote Abby, that makes you “a stupid head.” Don’t be “a stupid head” ; be an encourager instead!