This morning on Facebook I borrowed a picture from a friend and it went viral. Several of my friends borrowed it and then their friends borrowed it and on-and-on. Rather like the fact that a rabbit can reproduce 50,653 rabbits in three years, 69 million in five years and 64 BILLION in seven years so can our words and even post multiple.
Wow. Think about that. If you say a kind word to someone today that could reproduce. If you say a mean or a cruel word today, that too can reproduce. I don’t know about you, but I want my offspring to be kindness and love and not hatred. Proverbs 18:21 says “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” I don’t think literally that words have the power of life and death (except once in awhile) but for the majority if we yell “I wish you were dead” it doesn’t happen. But if you tell someone something enough, they begin to believe it and so words have consequences long beyond what we thought they did.
For example, my father told me I was a human leech. He told me I was stupid and would never amount to anything. And on and on ad nauseum. I knew logically that he was wrong, but internally it has taken me forty plus years to get past the believing the words and the pain is still there. As I was writing this I had to stop to cry. I don’t know if this legacy of angry words will ever completely heal.
I tried to give my children a legacy of loving words but like most parents I failed. I did better than my parents, but I still can think of words I shouldn’t have said. Lest you get the wrong impression of my parents though, they were just living out the legacy of words from their parents.
So words do matter. They have consequences. They live long past the people the spoke them. My adoptive maternal grandmother has been dead for almost fifty years. But the legacy that she left is still living in my grandchildren today. Hopefully, and from my watching my children I believe it is so, the vitriolic legacy is slowly dying.
So today I want to leave words of healing and love. Words are so powerful that Jesus was called the Word. John 1:1 says “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. ” And 1 Thessalonians says “Therefore encourage one another with these words.”
James 1:26 says “Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless.” Wait a minute. If I speak mean words today my religion worthless. God says it’s worthless. So when I gossip, or am angry or just having a bad day, my religion is worthless. It’s similar to 1 Corinthians 13:1-8a says “If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”
I gain nothing if I have not love. Selah.