Words are powerful
Have you ever been the object of gossip or, worse, slander?
If so, then you certainly understand the power of words. Thinking shaped. Lives impacted. Emotions evoked. At least one life devastated. No examples are necessary. Gossip and slander, or as some would call it, sharing information, is extremely powerful in shaping what others think about you.
Words are so very powerful.
Let’s talk further about that sharing of information—perhaps not as far as gossip or slander. People are having a conversation in which information about you, your life, and your activity is being discussed. What someone else might know about you could be based solely on what they learn about you during that conversation. They get another person’s version of you.
True or false - perceptions, opinions, and determinations about you, your life, your work—whatever, is shaped having never heard your version. But, thinking has been shaped, so everything they hear you say and watch you do is filtered through their perceptions, opinions, and determinations about you, your life, and work.
Think about it. If these perceptions, opinions, and determinations about you, your life, and your work are wrong, your life and work just got a lot, lot harder.
This has happened to me, and it's awful. I wouldn't wish the experience on anyone. Perceptions about me and my work based on the words of someone else. Those perceptions shaped thinking which made it impossible for me to be known, understood or heard. No amount of communication or explanation could change those perceptions, opinions, and determinations. It sad, frustrating, confusing, and you know what else? Wrong.
Maybe that's why I am super sensitive to all the "words about others" I hear these days on the news and popping up on my social media feeds. Often these perceptions, opinions, and determinations are shared quickly and based on hearsay or partial facts. Other times, while factual, the "words" or facts are mixed with personal opinion and commentary.
Words are powerful and so as a follower of Jesus Christ, I wonder why me, myself and my brothers and sisters in Christ are so quick to share our personal opinions about others. Or, why we judge those who walk and live according to the world against God's standards. God tells us in His Word they are only doing what comes natural and that we are not to judge. He also tells us that we are to honor and respect everyone. We are specifically told to submit, honor and respect those in authority.
The Holy Spirit reminds me that as beloved children of God, we are to speak only what is helpful for building others up that it may benefit them and give them peace. Our words are to always be gracious. I know, I know, I know ... there are crazy and upsetting and wrong things going on in our world. Injustices galore. Something must be done. Someone needs to speak out, right? Aren't we told to open our mouths to help and defend? Yes! But, in doing so, we are not to and do not have to tear down another. Big difference. Huge difference.
It's a crazy world! On any given day, the events going on in this world can make me crazy, and I can get to thinking and talking crazy. Because I have to keep reminding myself of these truths, I figure some of you do too. We have a high calling y'all. We've been left in this crazy world not to be like the world but so that the world might believe in Jesus. How do we do that? Imitate God.
Actions speak louder than words. We know it's true.
If we truly want to change the world, we must imitate God. Let me share with you an excerpt from my book "Self-Talk" because it is a beautiful description of what it looks like for Christ followers to imitate God. The actions of this community speak louder than any words ever could. I want to be like this and be with others who are like this.
If we truly want to change the opinion of others, shouldn't we show them rather than tell them? Maybe all this "sharing of information" is a huge distraction that keeps us from focusing on what we are to do and how we are to behave so the world will believe in Jesus.
Come on y'all, let's do this! Let's imitate our Father to a world whose only hope is Jesus. Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth; Keep watch over the door of my lips. Psalm 141:3
- "Have confessed with the mouth Jesus and Lord and believed in the heart God raised Him from the dead (Romans 10:9-10)
- Received Christ Jesus as Lord and walk in Him. (Colossians 2:6)
- Know they have been redeemed from their futile way of life with the precious blood of Christ. (1 Peter 1:18-19)
- Trust God and lean not on their own understanding. (Proverbs 3:5)
- Admonish and teach with all wisdom. (Colossians 1:28)
- Proclaim God’s excellencies (1 Peter 2:9-10)
- Are not conformed to the world but are transformed by the renewing of their minds. (Romans 12:2)
- Prove what is the good, acceptable, perfect will of God. (Romans 12:2)
- Speak the things fitting for sound doctrine. (Titus 2:1)
- Are able to teach the next generation. (Psalm 78:1-8)
- Understand that the Word is living and active. (Hebrews 4:12)
- Provide opportunity for God’s Word to judge thoughts and attitudes of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12)
- Are filled with the knowledge of God’s will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. (Colossians 1:9-11)
- Live lives worthy of God and please Him in every way. (Colossians 1:9-11)
- Are established in their faith (Colossians 2:7-8)
- Have hearts that overflow with gratitude. (Colossians 2:7-8)
- Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit. (Philippians 2:2-4)
- Have humility of mind. (Philippians 2:2-4)
- Regard others as more important than self. (Philippians 2:2-4)
- Fulfill every desire for goodness and the work of faith with power, glorifying God. (2 Thessalonians 1:11-12)
- Are diligent to present themselves approved. (2 Timothy 2:15)
- Are spokesmen who need not be ashamed. (2 Timothy 2:15)
- Handle accurately the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15)
- Hold fast the faithful Word. (Titus 1:9)
- Are able to exhort in sound doctrine (Titus 1:9)
- Destroy speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God. (2 Corinthians 10:5)
- Take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:5)
- Are devoted to teaching (Acts 2:42-47)
- Are filled with awe for God and His Word. (Acts 2:42-47)
- Experience many wonders and miracles by God’s mighty power. (Acts 2:42-47)
- Ensure no one has need. (Acts 2:42-47)
- Enjoy the favor of others. (Acts 2:42-47)
- God adds to their numbers daily those who are being saved. (Acts 2:41, 47)
- Are devoted to one another in love. (Romans 12:10)
- Honor each other. (Romans 12:10)
- Practice hospitality. (Romans 12:13)
- Show hospitality to strangers. (Hebrews 13:2)
- Do not pass judgment on one another. (Romans 14:13)
- Put no stumbling block or obstacle in anyone’s way. (Romans 14:13)
- Accept one another as Christ accepted them in order to bring praise to God. (Romans 15:7)
- Put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, bear with and forgive one another and the peace of Christ rules in hearts. (Colossians 3: 12-13)
- Are completely humble and gentle with each other. (Ephesians 4:2)
- Are patient and bear with one another in love. (Ephesians 4:2)
- Make every effort to keep unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace, building up others. (Romans 14:19, Ephesians 4:3)
- Are kind and tender-hearted. (Ephesians 4:32)
- Forgive others. (Ephesians 4:32)
- Are submissive out of reverence for Christ. (Ephesians 5:21)
- Can be trusted with the confession of others and are quick to pray for healing and restoration. (James 5:16)
- Make intercession for others. (James 5:16)
- Help those who wander from the truth. (James 5:19-20)
- Encourage and build each other up. (1 Thessalonians 5:11-15)
- Respect and hold in high regard those who work hard in overseeing and admonishing the community. (1 Thessalonians 5:11-15)
- Live in peace. (1 Thessalonians 5:11-15)
- Are not idle. (1 Thessalonians 5:11-15)
- Encourage the fainthearted and help the weak. (1 Thessalonians 5:11-15)
- Abound with patience. (1 Thessalonians 5:11-15)
- Do not pay back wrong with wrong. (1 Thessalonians 5:11-15)
- Love each other deeply. (1 Peter 4:8-10)
- Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. (1 Peter 4:8-10)
- Use their spiritual gifts to serve others. (1 Peter 4:8-10)
- Faithfully administer God’s grace. (1 Peter 4:8-10)
- Do not dishonor the Word of God. (Titus 2:3-5)
- Are set apart from the world by their behavior. (John 17:17)"
Excerpt from "Self-Talk", Change Your Mind, Change Your Life by Sally Hall
- Ephesians 2:1-3
- Matthew 7:1-5
- James 4:11-12
- Romans 2:1-3
- Galatians 6:1-6
- 1 Peter 2:17
- Romans 13:1-7
- Ephesians 4:29
- James 1:27
- Psalm 82:3-4
- Proverbs 31:8-9