Posted in change, Christian living, words

My word power

blogIMG_0922Words.  Where would we be without them?

If there were no words, we would have no writing.  There would be no great works of literature, no poems, no letters, no dictionaries, no blogs for that matter.

If words were non-existent, we would have no speech.  We would have no names for people, places, or things.  There would be no conversations, audible or with sign language.

Words are important.  Words are powerful.  They have the ability to build up or tear down.  On average, we humans speak thousands of words per day.  Some people are more talkative than others, but even the most reticent among us uses words each and every day.

Some of us are like a waterfall, words rush dramatically from us.  Some are like a river, words flowing continually.  Others are like Old Faithful, quiet for a while then suddenly words gush out of us.   And still others are much like a faucet, we turn our words off and on just when they are needed.

We speak words of love and words of hate.  Words of comfort and words of anger.  Words of life and words of death.  Words of encouragement and words of destruction.   Words of blessing and words of curse.  Words can instill passion to do good or incite diabolical plans for evil.

The Bible gives us much instruction on our use of words.   Some of my favorite passages about words are underlined in my study Bible and I’d like to share a few of them today.

Proverbs 12:17-19  reminds me to choose my words wisely and think before I speak – “The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. Truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue lasts only a moment.”

I’ve been guilty of piercing my loved ones with reckless words of my own, and I have been the recipient of sharp sword-like words piercing my heart.    Not very long ago, I witnessed someone utter a careless, flippant remark which deeply wounded a friend of mine.  I felt her pain as the other person spoke insensitively  and I could see in her eyes how those thoughtless utterances affected her.

I wish I could say that my tongue always speaks soothing words of healing, but I know that’s not the case.  Sometimes, I let my anger, or frustration, or state of feeling unwell fuel what comes out of my mouth.   And then harsh words just spew out of me.

Those critical or abrasive words I speak do nothing but cause more anger and frustration.  At times like these, I need to heed this admonition from Proverbs 15:1-3: “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.  The tongue of the wise adorns knowledge, but the mouth of the fool gushes folly.”

As I’ve matured both in age and spiritually, I’ve become more conscious of my words and more cautious to consider them wisely before I spout.  It’s something I wished I’d learned a long time ago.

I’ve known this scripture, also found in Proverbs, for most of my life but I’ve often failed to live by this passage each and every day.  “Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” (Proverbs 16:24)

It’s Chapter 11, Page 15, in my Opportunity book.  This year of opportunity (2011) is starting to wind down.   But today, as I read the following passage in my guidebook for life, these words written so long ago made a huge impact on me.

“You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.  Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely. You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me.” ~ Psalm 139:3-5

God knows me inside and out.  He knows my heart.  He knows what’s in my head.  And He knows what I’m going to say before the words roll off my tongue.  Ouch!

I fervently pray that I’ll be more sensitive to His urging to check my spirit and examine my words carefully before I speak because my words have power either to inflict great damage or bless another with the soothing balm of grace.

And I have the power to choose and change my words.



Mama of this empty nest, I’m content to live a quiet, country life with my husband of 40+ years and to view gorgeous sunsets off our own back yard deck. Mama to three adults and Nana to adorable grandchildren, my empty nest fills up again with noise and laughter when they all return 'home'. A former English teacher, reporter/editor, education director for a non-profit organization, and stay at home mom, I retired after a season of substitute teaching at a private academy. Now I enjoy time spent with my grandchildren and family and writing words that seem to pour out of my soul or wandering around the countryside with my camera. Foremost, my faith sustains me as I meander through the empty nest stage of life. My favorite scripture is 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18: “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

11 thoughts on “My word power

  1. Amen. Our words are indeed powerful! Reading your post reminded me of the verse about our tongue that can either bring life or death (Prov. 18:21) and how the universe was created by the spoken word of God. Words are indeed powerful and can pierce the souls of people or lift them up. Thank you very much for this timely reminder! May I always be reminded of this especially when I’m in the classroom.:)


    1. Welcome, D, and thank you for stopping by the empty nest and telling me you visited. I’m glad you enjoyed my post and it pleases me that you want to share it. I’m always blessed to hear from a new reader. May you have a warm and loving Thanksgiving with your family and friends. And please stop by again soon. 🙂


  2. Wow I really liked the video Pretty powerful

    My words can be venom when I am stressed and pressured from the outside world. My life is so less stressful now than when teenagers and their personalities and problems filled my world. I am so much clearer in thought and more positive. I hope I can keep the good vibes and postive words flowing when I see my elderly parents this weekend. Thanks for your post today 🙂


    1. I actually stumbled upon that video months ago and I was determined to use it somehow in a blog entry. I thought it was very powerful and I hoped I could do it justice by accompanying a powerful blog with it. Thanks for letting me know how it impacted you. I hope you have a lovely visit with your parents this weekend.


    1. Thank you for stopping by the empty nest and leaving a nice compliment. Your words encouraged me today. Not only do I think there is power in words but also in photographs. I took the picture in my header a couple of years ago in my parents’ yard. Since both of them are now gone and my childhood home is sold, pictures of it give me comfort.


  3. One of my favorite short stories is “Dos palabras” by Isabel Allende. She uses the power of the word as a tool to express her pain, anger, and love throughout her works. Your message and the video reminded me of her story “Dos palabras” (“Two words”). Read about Belisa Crepusculario and the magic unleashed in words. What two words does she whisper to the Colonel? Assess the power they unleash…only two words. (Here it’s good to read the story in Spanish, since knowledge of vocabulary and sentence structure may lead to more “precise” conjectures that can be argued.) It’s a great story not just leading up to the two words she whispers but also, her preparation to be the writer she became. I wish I could give you a link, but if you Google “Two Words” Isabel Allende, the document will come up. Great post.


    1. Thanks for telling me about the story, “Dos Palabras.” My command of Spanish is weakened by lack of use and many years, so I read it in English. Aha, the power of those two words is especially great! 🙂


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