Controlling the Power of Words
The statement stopped me cold. I absolutely couldn’t believe someone had just said that about someone else out loud.
The group laughed. It was a joke. Or so they thought. I couldn’t seem to understand how any part of that statement might be humorous.
I couldn’t let this one go.
“What if what you just said were true? What if it happens?” My eyes shoot sparks as I spit out the question.
“Oh. Well, it wouldn’t be funny at all then.”
Silence becomes thick and uncomfortable.
“Words are powerful. Your words are powerful. And if by some horrible fate what you just said were to come true, everyone is always going to remember what you just said. You will be remembered for that. We need to think carefully before we spew out words. They can’t be taken back and they are often more powerful than we ever dreamed possible.”
That conversation stuck with me throughout the day. Not because it was awkward and uncomfortable, but because it was relevant and important.
Fists don’t start fights–words do.
Nuclear weapons don’t start wars–words do.
Lawyers don’t begin the divorce process–words do.
How many times do I use my words casually and not think through the implications? How often am I speaking curses instead of blessings without even realizing it?
Are my words and my meditating thoughts pleasing to God? The prior verses show the psalmist asking God to cleanse them from their hidden sins and to free them from the control their deliberate sins hold over them.
Yes, I’m joining the psalmist in this prayer. My words are powerful. I don’t want them to be found wanting. I don’t want to be known for using them in a way that hurts others instead of lifting others up.