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Peggy Horton: The Power of words

Words are powerful.We must choose them carefully and think before speaking or writing them. Our words have the power to create peace or discord, inspiration or apathy, hope or despair. Therefore, we must be sure we select the ones that will create harmony and good will instead of dissension and malice.Thoughtless comments that hurt someone else can make us feel terrible!It was two years after my father died before my mother could say the words, "He died." She kept saying, "He went away." At first, I tried to be kind and ignore it, but then one day, I bluntly said, "Mother, Daddy didn't go away. He died!"I'll never forget the hurt look on my mother's sweet face. After many years, I still fight tears when that picture creeps into my mind. Sometimes, what we think is the right thing turns out to be "risky" at best. I think it hurt me more than it did her. However, she never said, "He went away," again. Perhaps it was a good thing -- forcing her to face reality. Or maybe it was cruel. I'll never be quite sure.
That's the bad thing about words. Once spoken, they can never be retrieved. How nice it would be if one could inhale them back to where they originated and erase them so they'd never be heard. But mistakes are a natural part of learning to live in this world -- just as falling down is a natural part of learning to walk.When I make a serious mistake, I sometimes find it hard to forgive myself for what I've said or done. Yet, I know I cannot make amends if I remain in a cycle of self-blame or criticism. So I must take responsibility for my actions and do my best to resolve the situation. After a heartfelt apology and a change in my behavior, I trust God to guide me. By His grace, I will be able to forgive myself, and perhaps, in time, the person I hurt will forgive me, too.The Bible says, "Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit" (Proverbs 18:21).Words contain what you believe. If you are full of fear, your words will reflect that. If you are full of faith, your words will be full of conviction. You can choose to speak life-changing Bible verses during your life or speak what you hear the world speak: gloom, doom and despair.Understanding the power of words is essential to living a victorious Christian life. The key is to be consistent and persistent. This isn't something you try; it's a way of life.Words are so important, that we are going to have to give an account of what we say when we stand before the Lord Jesus Christ (Matthew12:36-37).Horton is a writer who lives in Nitro and can be reached at
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