Thursday 1 November 2012


“It's only words,” we say. But, insignificant as they may seem, words can build or break, heal or destroy.

Some people believe only physical things can hurt and maim; words do little harm. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Sticks and stones may break the bones but, over time, the bones unite and healing ensues. However, rash and unkind words can hurt for a lifetime.

Unpleasant memories associated with stinging remarks may linger and haunt us, even when the person making those comments has passed on. We may forget many things in life but it’s difficult to forget how someone has made us feel through his or her words.

Death and life are in the power of the tongue and those who love it will eat its fruit (Proverbs 18:21).

What we say can edify, encourage or comfort others. Or it may discourage, condemn or make them feel inferior. Words often have permanent and far-reaching effects on its hearers. As such, we should pause to check ourselves before speaking. What are the possible consequences of our words? Once released, words cannot be retracted.

I know of a guy who hasn’t been able to hold on to a job. His lack of self-confidence and motivation in life could be traced back to his school days. The teacher used to call him derogatory names such as “you good-for-nothing”, “you ne’er-do-well”. He was made to stand in a corner of the classroom and forced to recite silly lines, which rubbed salt to the wound. And the cumulative effect of such demeaning words and experiences over time has produced the inevitable result.

Words can be used to manipulate others for selfish ends. Smooth-talking Casanovas capitalise on sweet words to woo lonely and gullible ladies. Spellbound, the latter may even be willing to part with a hefty fortune on account of sob stories spun by the former.

But endearing words are also used by lovers to serenade one another. As “It’s only words”, * Bee Gees’ hit of yesteryear, reminds us: “It’s only words and words are all I have to take your heart away.”

Positive words also are used in various ministries, whether it’s a relatively quiet counseling scenario or a more dramatic healing and deliverance setting:

The Lord GOD has given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary: he awakens morning by morning, he awakens my ear to hear as the learned” (Isaiah 50:4).

If we desire to encourage weary people, we have to be patient. Like a humble student, we have to be open to what God has in store for us – His wisdom, which is fresh like morning dew. And He will direct us to specific portions of scripture which bring about healing and restoration to weary, wounded souls.

Those in healing and deliverance ministry proclaim the Word over those who are sick and oppressed. In a classical case, Peter, when confronted by the lame man at the temple gate, boldly proclaimed: “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” And the man was healed on the basis of Peter’s faith in the Word.

But words not only wield their power when we speak to others. What we confess to ourselves is equally powerful. The power of self-affirmation is evident whether we say, “I am a conqueror; I can do all things through Christ” or “Life is unfair; if only I had this or that …” With the passage of time, we become closer and closer to what we repeatedly confess.

So we have to choose carefully the words we say to ourselves – as well as that which we say to others.
*  IT’S ONLY WORDS (by Bee Gees)
Smile an everlasting smile
A smile can bring you near to me
Don't ever let me find you down
'Cause that would bring a tear to me
[ Lyrics from: ]
This world has lost its glory
Let's start a brand new story now, my love
Right now, there'll be no other time
And I can show you how, my love

Talk in everlasting words
And dedicate them all to me
And I will give you all my life
I'm here if you should call to me

You think that I don't even mean
A single word I say
It's only words and words are all I have
To take your heart away

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