word choice

What do your words say about you?

Words by themselves are fairly neutral but we all know how we feel when we’ve been the recipient of a word used in a derogatory way. Many times we don’t mean our words to suggest anything other than what they literally mean. We’re not intending to hurt.  But words can hurt. It’s absolutely ridiculous to think that “Sticks and stones may bring my bones, but words will never hurt me.” Who coined that ridiculous phrase anyway?

Our culture has deteriorated rapidly in this regard.  Watch any reality show and you’ll see what I mean.”Mean” words are used and people laugh! Are you kidding me? What has happened to our sense of humor that we think making fun of someone or calling them names is even remotely funny?

Let’s be very careful how we choose our words. While our actions say the most about us, our words say a lot as well. Our words can even decide our own moods. We simply cannot say cruel things to others without hurting ourselves as well.  I always feel a little sorry for someone who can’t control their speech because I know they are not happy people inside. How do I know that? Because…….

Happy people use life-affirming words.

If you’re dealing with depression you need to use life-affirming words. We hear words whether spoken by us or not.  We can’t close our ears to what we say any more than we can to what anyone else says. Even if our hurtful words are spoken to someone else, the negative atmosphere surrounding them surrounds us as well and dampens our mood. If depressed people monitored their own words, they would feel very differently. Think about that the next time you use harsh words to describe a person, an event, etc. Re-word your thoughts and see if speaking them more kindly doesn’t affect your mood in a more positive way.

My mom is in the hospital again. I had to go back up last night because one of her nurses called to say she was quite agitated. I noticed that my attitude and my words made a big difference in calming her down. When we started this journey I thought “tough” words might jar my mom back to mental health and while I do have to use “tough” words about using her walker, for the most part, I’ve found compassionate words work the best overall.

The Bible, especially the book of Proverbs, tells us all we need to know about using our words. It doesn’t take long the read the entire book, no longer than reading a couple of chapters of any novel. Take some time to read it today. As you know, I read a chapter from Proverbs every day. There isn’t another book in the Bible that has as much to say about words choices and wisdom (mmm, that connection is interesting, isn’t it?).

I encourage you today to pay attention to the words you use and your own attitudes. Not only do your words affect others and reflect who you are, they also circle back to your own ears and set you up for a sour mood. This is an example of a situation where it’s OK to put yourself first.

With my mom back in the hospital, I need to use the “right” words. Words that are precise while at the same time kind and loving. Sometimes God allows situations in our lives that give us another opportunity to grow in mercy and grace. This is mine.

God bless and have a good day.