Heather Marshall on October 21st, 2008

“If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all.”

I’m sure we’ve all had those words pounded into our memory at an early age.  Our parents, our teachers, and others would make sure that we trained ourselves to choose our words carefully.  To think before we speak.  Of course, we’ve also been trained to believe that our words really don’t matter, because children all seem to know this silly rhyme;

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never harm me.”

Really?  I think I’d rather have the temporary pain of a broken arm than deal with the lifetime of hurt a few words can bring.

Words can be powerful.  Words can also be very dangerous.  Words seem small and insignificant, but oh what great impact they have!

For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Hebrews 4:12

Those words are POWERFUL!!  Just a word from God, and the universe was created.  Just a word from God, and life was formed.  Just a word from God, and the earth was completely flooded.  Just a word from God, and bodies were healed from disease, brought back to life from the dead, and restored to their full strength. Just a word from God…. is so powerful.

Humans were made in the likeness of God, which means….. our words hold some power as well.  Granted, not the SAME power as God’s… but power nonetheless.

Power to lift up and encourage, or the power to destroy and belittle.  Power to make someone FEEL powerful, or the power to shrink and discourage a person.

Our little tongue has such GREAT power…. but it’s our CHOICE how we use it!!

A little over a week ago, I had the privilege of hearing motivational speaker Gary Zelesky speak on passion.  One thing that he said that really stuck with me is this:  “People will not remember the words you say, but they will remember how those words made them feel.” How true!!  How many times have you been insulted, hurt, or upset by what someone said to you… but when asked, you can’t remember exactly what was said? The feeling still remains though!

THAT is why words are powerful… they bring with them strong emotion!

As women, we tend to be extremely EMOTIONAL beings.  I don’t mean “weepy” or “moody,” I mean that we feel things more strongly than most men.  Remember getting engaged?  Showing off your ring to all your friends and family? In most cases, it would be the women “ooohing” and “aaahhing” over the ring, the story, the details (perhaps shedding a few tears of joy), while the men would simply slap the groom-to-be on the back and offer their congratulations.

What type of emotions can words bring?  Well, that depends on how you choose to use your words!

Words can bring:

  • Joy
  • Peace
  • Salvation
  • Encouragement
  • Praise (to others & God)
  • Success

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. Ephesians 4:29

Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Ephesians 5:19-20

Words can also bring:

  • Discouragement
  • Sadness
  • Anger
  • Bitterness
  • Failure

Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. James 3:5-6

So what can we take from this?  Well, there are two verses in Proverbs that sum it up very nicely for us:

He who guards his mouth and his tongue, Guards his soul from troubles. Proverbs 21:23

When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise. Proverbs 10:19

Choose your words wisely - they are POWERFUL!!!  Stay tuned for the next post, which will tie this idea of powerful words directly into their effect on our marriages.

I’d love to hear your thoughts and opinions (mine can’t be the only one out there!)… What do you think of Gary Zelesky’s quote? Or of the emotions of words?  How do you think this is going to relate to our marriages?  Let me know by leaving a comment below!!

Keep on Striving!!

Heather :)

Related posts:

  1. Choose Your Words Wisely (Part 2)
  2. Choose to be a Striving Wife
  3. Words of Wisdom…
  4. The Gracious Wife versus The Sarcastic Wife
  5. The Effect of Pride on Marriage

2 Responses to “Choose Your Words Wisely (Part 1)”

  1. I have an assignment that we have to do for a psychotherapy class, it’s called the Compassion Journal. For two weeks, we have to pick two people that we deal with daily and not change what we do. Then, after those two weeks, we have I believe four weeks to change how we talk, how we act, basically, how we interact with these two individuals.

  2. WOW, that sounds like an awesome assignment! It will really give you a chance to see HOW you’re talking others. I hope you’ll keep us updated on how it’s going!!

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