Wednesday, 2 November 2011


Gareth Cliff who is the morning DJ on 5 FM a national radio station is not my favorite person.  In my opinion his reputation as a “shock jock” is well deserved but having said that every Wednesday on FB and Twitter he encourages his followers to have “no negativity Wednesday”.  This got me thinking……..a dangerous thing I know but here goes:
Words have power……whether they are written or spoken they continuously drive us through life. Words have the power to lift us up, drag us down, they can wound us deeply or heal our hearts, they can break confidences or build lifelong friendships.  Words have the ability to start wars and end them.
The words that we speak can have a profound effect on the people they reach. Do your words encourage or discourage those you aim them at?  
When I was on holiday a few weeks ago, a friend and I were having cocktails one afternoon by the resort pool.  I saw a dad walking with his son and just as I was thinking “aw sweet” the dad up and smacked the son against the head and said “you rubbish”.  Now I don’t know what the son had done to provoke this kind of reaction from the father and frankly I don’t care.  There can be no just cause for this kind of reaction!!!!! 
As I was trying to restrain myself from getting up and laying a major smack down on the father (I had the weight advantage) I wondered if parents realise just how much power their words have. A parents words shape the lives of their children in a variety of ways. For example if children consistently hear their parents being critical or judgmental they learn to be critical and judgmental too. If parents are rude and treat others without courtesy and respect, is that not how their children will treat others. If parents are constantly shouting at their kids and yelling at each other is it then not obvious that this kind of use of words will be displayed by the children. Children imitate their parents and if parents use words in a negative manner so too will the children.
I have so many friends who are shocked and horrified to find themselves repeating the words they heard their parents utter as children.  Things like “this hurts me more than it hurts you”, or “sit down and shut up”.  Shut up REALLY!!!  Oh and the woes of when the nursery school calls and says that little Johnny is using swear words.  The embarrassment stems from the fact that in all likelihood little Johnny learnt to swear from mommy and daddy.
Of course my friends tell me that there are days when they hear the most absurd words coming out of their mouth like “Don’t you dare rub that poo on the walls……it’s not a crayon”, or “Dog food is not for little girls”.
Words have set whole nations in motion…Give me the right word and the right accent and I will move the world. Joseph Conrad

In the Book of James, the Bible compares our tongues to a horse. Not the most flattering of comparisons but very accurate.
If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to harness the whole body...Indeed we put bits in horses' mouths that they may obey us, and we turn (or control) their whole body. James 3:2-3

All it takes to control this majestic creature who has a spirited personality is a small piece of metal so why then can we not control the words that fall from our own lips. Why then do we find it a daily struggle to refrain from using words that harm, destroy and discourage.
Do we really even try to control the words we use?  We seem so able to control every other aspect of our lives but when it comes to the words we use we seem to have a distinct lack of self discipline.
This is not a new problem and unless you are a hermit, not one limited to just me (at least I pray not).  It really does seem easier to harness the extreme power of a wild horse than to reign in the power of our tongues.  There are days that it seems to take on a life of its own, it becomes totally out of control especially when there are heightened emotions involved.  My road rage is a definite example!!!  I work really hard to combat the anger I feel when a taxi cuts me off on the highway but my tongue seem to be so much faster than my brain and when come to myself again I realise that I have used words I should not have.
“The real art of conversation is not only to say the right thing at the right time, but to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment. “ Dorothy Nevill

Words sting and have a lasting effect.  We must take responsibility for the words spewing forth from our mouths.  Yes, we have a constitutional right to free speech, but speech is not completely free.  There are always consequences for what we say, whether we acknowledge the impact or not.
Are our words…." Love is patient, Love is kind. It does not envy, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil, it rejoices with truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always persevers. Love never fails." 1 Cor 13:4.

Are you building up your partner, your children, your friends, your colleagues, your waitress or even a stranger with your words. Or are you breaking them down, are you tearing down your family and friends with words which criticise, words filled with bitterness and words that judge.

Do you speak negative words over yourself which destroy your self esteem, your health and your own success in life? Remember that words have power even when you turn them on yourself.

Words can inspire us to achieve great heights, they allow us to share our deepest feelings with one each other.  Words can change us as individuals, as families, as a nation and as humans. When used with care, words can change the world which surrounds us.

Our tongues need to be trained to speak words of love, encouragement, care, joy, happiness and most of all we need to train our tongues to validate those we love.

So let's choose to use our words to encourage and uplift. Let's choose to select them using wisdom and love.

The old adage of sticks and not true!  Words can be
destructive and should be used with care.

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