Sticks and Stones but Those Words Do Hurt! Getting Rid of Ugly Words

Ugly Christmas Sweaters are quite the phenomenon these days, but unfortunately during this season we can be tempted to be as ugly as our sweaters. Last week we talked about our ugly thoughts…thoughts become actions, we can end up hurting others. Thoughts can also become words.

We often end up saying things that hurt others without even paying attention.

Words are powerful and can create visceral reactions within us when hear them or read them.  How do the following words make you feel?

            Christmas

            Lights

            Snow

            Tree

            Presents

            Shopping

            Wrapping

            Hot Chocolate

            Eggnog

            Fruitcake

            Traffic

            All of those words make you feel one way or another, creating a response within you because Words Have Power. 

Words Have Power

The ancient proverb says, “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”

We have an incredible responsibility in the way we speak to each other. Our words hold the power of life and death. How we speak to one another can be life giving. 

Think back to your childhood and teenaged years…what things were said to you that you remember to this day? They impact you. You remember the things your parents said to you…the things that encourage you and destroyed you. 

You probably remember the things that drove you to therapy and counseling more than you remember the positive things…but either way, you remember them both. 

Words have power! They impact us for years! We can say things that give life or we can say things that bring death. 

And in this prolonged 2 years of stress with the pandemic and political discord, we need to be even more careful with the things we choose to say. 

We must be intentional to avoid ugly words and to speak in ways that bring encouragement and build others up. This does not mean we avoid sharing truth or not having difficult conversations. But I know we can all agree, there is a positive and negative way to convey truth to others.

Speak the truth in love…truth is the message, but the medium is love. 

Because the small little muscle of our tongue has the power to control and damage large things like our bodies and other people’s lives

Small things can control large things, think of it…

  • Horses can be controlled by a bit in their mouth
  • Ships can be controlled by a small rudder
  • Forest can be set ablaze by a small spark

The same is true for us and our tongues – its relative size to the body is very small, but it is literally one of the strongest groups of muscles per inch in our bodies, AND it can do the most damage to others.

How often have you gotten an email or a text that makes you immediately angry? Or see a post or comment on social media that just makes you see red fast?

Your first inclination is to shoot back fast with a response on email or a quick text or another comment back. I’m learning that usually does more harm than good, to take my time in writing back…or write back, but hit delete instead of send.

When I take time to consider – NOT just what I want to say, but the intended result of what I want to say  I am able to control my words and keep from causing more harm or causing the situation to escalate. 

Without a restraint, our words can lead us deeper conflict. 

Here’s a helpful filter to run your words through before you say them: 

Will what I about to say honor the person I am saying it to?

Honoring someone else means that we express respect and admiration in the way we speak to them. We can ask ourselves how we might receive these words fi they were being spoke to us. How we treat the creation says something about how we feel about our creator.

Will what I am about to say be something I will regret?

If we can lay our head down at night and not wish we could take back something we said, then we have been choosing our words wisely. Ugly words sometimes cause damage that cannot be reversed. We are wise to ask ourselves these questions in order to control our tongue because our words hold power. 

Each year we gather together on Christmas Eve and we sing beautiful songs about how great God is and we light candles to represent his light in us and we say all these wonderful things about Jesus and think all these wonderful thoughts about God…And then we turn right around and say ugly things to people around us or ugly things about people around us.

Words carry meaning and it matter how and when we use them. 

This Christmas I invite you to use your words to encourage others and lift others up

Take a moment and think about someone that could benefit from some kind words this weekend. Make the decision to encourage them. Phone call, hand written note, coffee, text, make time to encourage one person and go out of your way to do it. 

It’s been a tough couple of years for all of us and we can choose today to make the best of what we have and to express love to others through the words we choose. 

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