06 Sep Healing Words
We can all agree that spewing thoughtless, harmful words to others is damaging. But I have another idea to consider—what about the unspoken word, the silence we sit in, the words we withhold? What if we really took the time to listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit in every encounter with others and allowed God’s truth to be what flowed out of us?
What if we chose, at every turn, to speak words of life, encouragement, and worth to those in our lives? Isn’t that what is attacked so often when we are hurt by someone’s words—our self worth, the way we see ourselves, our identity? What if, by God’s grace, you and I could help reshape someone’s identity and view of self by simply speaking God’s Word, His view of them?
In the past week alone, I’ve observed snippets of conversations from others about how someone else’s words have stuck with them for years. Sadly, there was only one example in the positive. The most powerful commentary was this one:
Yesterday, my sassy middle asked me why I like wearing a hat so often. And it’s true—it’s kind of my go-to on the weekends. Earlier last week, my other daughter asked me why I didn’t like to wear shorts like hers. I realized that both of these questions could be answered exactly the same way. In high school, a nasty girl once told me that since my thighs touched, I should be ashamed and never show my legs again. My whole adult life, I have strived for that elusive thigh gap and never have been confident about showing my legs. On the flip side, years ago, a boy I was a little crazy for told me that I looked good in a hat. Because of that, I haven’t ever shied away from putting one on.
“What if, by God’s grace, you and I could help reshape someone’s identity and view of self by simply speaking God’s Word, His view of them?”
Did you catch that? Her adult life has been massively affected by something said to her many years ago. And y’all—this woman—she is beautiful. I’ve never once noticed her thighs—but I’ve noticed the sparkle in her eye and her joyful smile, the way she loves her kids and her husband. She was created perfectly in God’s image, exactly the way He wanted her, with carefully crafted physical traits as well as spiritual gifts to be used for His kingdom and His glory. And so were you. And guess what? It gets better. He’s not finished with us. Philippians 1:6 declares that the good work God began in us is being perfected—that He is continuing to mold and grow us more into His image every day until we take our last breath. What a relief!
Words are important and impactful. In fact, in John 1:1-4, Jesus is actually called “the Word.”
“In the beginning the Word already existed.
The Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
He existed in the beginning with God.
God created everything through him,
and nothing was created except through him.
The Word gave life to everything that was created,
and his life brought light to everyone.”
And in Psalm 33:6-9, we are reminded that God spoke the world into existence.
“The Lord merely spoke,
and the heavens were created.
He breathed the word,
and all the stars were born.
He assigned the sea its boundaries
and locked the oceans in vast reservoirs.
Let the whole world fear the Lord,
and let everyone stand in awe of him.
For when he spoke, the world began!
It appeared at his command.”
Words are important to God, and they should be to us too. If we are meant to be image bearers of God, and we are, then shouldn’t we be reflecting God’s thoughts and words onto others? People around you are starving for truth. Everywhere you turn, there are others walking around like the woman in the example above, holding onto a false view of self that was shaped by someone else’s words. You could quickly come up with an example yourself, I’m sure, for why you don’t love your teeth, your size, your voice, your laugh. Words are powerful. They stick. They replay in our minds. And you can make a difference with yours.
“If we are meant to be image bearers of God, and we are, then shouldn’t we be reflecting God’s thoughts and words onto others?”
I have a challenge for each of us today: when you are out and about, or at work, or at home with your children, or wherever you find yourself today, ask the Lord, “What can I say to someone today that would encourage them?” Don’t stay silent. Speak. Use your words to benefit others, to reshape, and heal.
May we be instruments of God’s grace.
“Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.” —Proverbs 16:24 (ESV)
Miranda could eat Mexican food everyday, loves a good book, and sees and hears God most clearly through His creation and music. She also enjoys playing games and exploring new places with her family. She doesn’t need to know “what’s next” in life but is thankful to know the One who is over all, in all, and through all.