Words || The Life and Death They Bring
We ALL know that words have power. They have the power to give life or tear it down. They can bring joy, comfort, encouragement, or they can sting like the pouring of salt water on an open wound. They can build others up, or they can bring death literally and figuratively. We ALL know this. Why? Because we have been affected by the power of words.
Growing up I was a pretty active kid. By active I mean I had a lot of energy, a lot of emotions, and lived life pretty loudly. Some people called me “strong-willed” others called me “hyperactive.” And I remember these words. I even remember the way these words have played a role in how I viewed myself as a kid.
If you are a parent, then you know that children can test the very boundaries of every nerve that runs through our veins. Some days we tolerate it pretty well, other days we fall short and wish we could pull back the reigns of our reactions and have a do-over. I have, on many occasions, asked my daughter to forgive me in how I reacted when my own patience was being tested. Moments that make me frustrated at myself. But the words, “Will you forgive me?” are powerful.
If you’ve ever met my mom, you know she’s a pretty great lady. I could write a whole book on my mom and the woman she is. And maybe I will… but for now, just know, she’s pretty awesome. Anyone who meets her knows she’s pretty awesome too. She is her mother’s daughter. Classy, elegant, well spoken, and strong. One of the reasons why she is so awesome is how she raised me. When God gave me to her He knew she could handle what was coming her way. Not because I was going to go all ape crazy on her, but He already knew me. And He also already knew my mom and knew He could use her to help mold me into the woman I am and am still becoming today.
Like I stated above, I was a pretty strong-willed kid. Lots of emotions, lots of energy… But one thing my mom NEVER did was tear those characteristics down in me. She never used her words against me. I’m sure she had her less than patient moments with me… like take loooooooong bathroom breaks (we have all been there ~ lol) but I don’t remember them. Another thing she never did was use my ever molding behaviors and life as a butt of the jokes with her friends. She never joked about replacing me or getting rid of me because her patience was being tested. And honestly, I can’t imagine what my reaction would be like if she had. INSTEAD - she used the power of her words to mold and shape me. She used her words to build me up and tell me who I was: strong, powerful, a leader, a child of God… She used (and still uses) her words well.
I try my hardest to repeat this with my kids. My daughter is a natural leader and lover of people. She is crazy talented and loves to create things. She is strong, opinionated, and passionate and I want to build her up in who God has created her to be, which is in HIS image. Every single cell, ever single bit of who she is was created in HIS image. That’s pretty darn powerful!
I also want my kids to know that I spoke well of them whether with people or on social media. Because ONE DAY, they too will have a Facebook and other social media accounts and will be able to scroll back and read what I wrote about them. They will be able to read every - single - word on how I viewed them as a children growing up and those words will shape how they view themselves. Words are powerful. They bring Life or they bring Death. And the words I speak about and to my kids will have a lifelong impact on them. It will also shape how others view my kids as well.
Parenting is hard at times. We absolutely need our people, our tribe to be transparent with when we are going through a rough time of helping our kids grow and mature their characters. We need those people we can go to for encouragement, and not to bash our kids. During those hard moments, comment on the good. Look past that terrible moment, that terrible tantrum and see what God sees. Because God knows I still have my terrible moments. And although they may not always be external where others can see them, I am grateful that my God sees past the muck and rough edges and looks through His hand of Grace and sees a diamond instead and reminds me of the image He created me in… His image.
“Your tongue has the power of life and death…”