The power of words has always blown me away. Sometimes they are words that I have read before that, when read through with a different perspective, changes my view profoundly. Sometimes words that I've never read before are arranged in such a way that they cause my heart to pound a little harder, my soul to ache, my eyes to well with tears and my head to say "yes! I relate, I get it, I know that feeling!" Sometimes they are words spoken. Sometimes they are words sung. We are bathed in words every day.
We use words carelessly at times. Tossing them together, not really paying attention to the power they hold to change a mood, hurt feelings, bring joy, bring hope, bring levity, bring sorrow. They come and go from our tongues so quickly that we don't know the depth of the words until we see the reaction on another's face or hear the catch in another's voice or receive words from another person in return. The power of words is unknown to us, at times.
There are times, though, when we know the power of the words we use. We are fully aware that our words can bring a person up or tear a person down. They can cause hope or bring fear, inspire enthusiasm or fester hatred. We use our words to inspire those feelings in others, deliberately provoking a reaction, for good or for bad. I think of that each time I read the Bible, the writers understood the power of their words and they chose them carefully...have we been just as careful about interpreting those words written in a different language for a different audience?
Looking back over a week of work, a week of living with others, a week of interacting with community members, with strangers, with people who had something that I needed, I see that some of the words that I used were potentially harmful, some deliberately provoking, many said with love and teasing that I wonder, were they taken that way?
Today I'm pondering words and the power behind them. What are you thinking about today?