I recently read an article in which someone lamented, “Words don’t change anything anymore.”
I believe they do, but we must consider what words we are using, our purpose in using them, and who we direct them to. Perhaps this statement embodies the sense of powerlessness in trying to understand and affect change with the challenges in our communities today. So many of us want to “fix” it, make it right, make everyone happy, and we feel that we don’t have the tools to do that.
Words are powerful tools. Do you remember the limerick of childhood, “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never harm me?” Well, that’s a lie!
Words are tremendously impactful! If they weren’t why do we remember the super hurtful or amazingly edifying things that have been said to or about us? I remember the pain words brought me when my father questioned my one “B” on a grade card full of “A’s” in elementary school, and in contrast the joy of hearing, “I’m so proud of you” from my mother when I graduated with honors from both high school and college. I remember the cajoling words of classmates in gym class when, the chubby, uncoordinated kid – me – was always last chosen for any team activity. I also remember while in high school the encouragement of coworkers at my first “real” job as they watched me grow, build confidence, and lose twenty-five pounds. Words…
Words can tear down, degrade, and negate, but they can also build up, motivate, and encourage. They are effective tools to hurt others or to help them.
If words don’t change anything, why do we create poems, write letters, preach sermons, pray, sing, read, or teach? To affect change? What we must remember is motivation, purpose, focus – what do we hope to achieve? We must also remember to listen as our audience will listen. What will they hear us communicate? Will it be our frustration or impatience, or will it be our compassion and desire to understand and support? Are we willing to hear others?
Scripture tells us that words can comfort and heal the soul. Proverbs 25:11 states, “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.” In Proverbs 16: 24, “Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.” And in Proverbs 15:1, “A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.” If genuine love, compassion, acceptance, and respect are the motivations for why we speak, our words will have impact. Who we speak them to matters. Do we pray and speak to God about what is in our mind and on our heart? Do we ask His guidance, His will to be done? Do we seek His plan to be accomplished, or do we have a different one? The efficacy of our words will depend on these things.
Words do change things: “I hear you.” “I believe in you.” I’m praying for you.” “We can work on this together.” These are words with power to make a difference.
In working on my second book, Not as Planned, I am taking a deeper dive into the influencers in our lives…those people who in words and actions, changed the lives of others, including mine. Please visit my author pages on Facebook and Amazon for details and information on future events for this book and for Full Immersion (also available through Covered Treasures bookstore in Monument, CO and Barnes and Noble stores).
Love to connect with you through this blog https://nancykoenig.blog (there is a subscribe window at the bottom).