“Mom, that sun butter that we had yesterday didn’t taste right. Something is wrong with it. WE NEED TO TAKE IT BACK TO THE STORE.”
What- the-heck?? That is my greeting this morning. It hit me at the wrong time. I had way too much on my plate this day. I was on edge before I woke her up, and it took every bit of my energy to say “good morning sunshine” in a nice positive tone!
Why had I let her sleep in? Why did I read Harry Potter to her for so long last night? Can you see where this is going?
Her words stirred up a lot of emotion in me. She was not the sweet and cute little girl that I usually get to see in the morning (and let me tell you with Katie those moments are few and far between). She wasn’t even close to cute, she was down right angry. After waking her up, I stomped into the kitchen and began cutting up fruit. I was mad. And to top it off I didn’t even get my shower.
Words are powerful. I realized (once I dropped all my kids off at school) that words can change your day. They are definitely a “game changer” for me. Most of my life, I have read people by their words and actions. I just feel a vibe from people when I meet them. I have always embraced this instinctual response because it gives me a good, solid “heads-up” on people. Maybe that is why I am so addicted to the “Mentalist” on television. I feel just like him sometimes. I pick up on cues and surroundings, people and actions, and then I form judgments based on those observations. I know I just said judgment, but it is true that I judge based on these perceptions.
When words are thrown in the mix with those pre-conceived judgments it is a whole new ball game. Someone I love may send me a message through their tone in their words that I don’t expect. Just like Katie this morning. It takes me aback and makes me think – was I wrong in my judgment?
How many times have I snapped at someone or spoke in a derogatory voice? How many times have I changed the outcome of someone’s day because of my word choices? I am sure there have been many times. Just today as I was thinking about my word choices, I realized the intense amount of power my words have on others. Each day when I greet all 34 children in my classroom, I always try to stay positive and be there for them 100%. I leave my “junk” behind me at home. After all they are children and they deserve to have me entirely present to them. If I came to school grumpy and used harsh words, my time as a teacher may be short! I choose to use my words to uplift the children, and make them happy to be at school.
We all have this power in our words everyday – even with complete strangers. It is a big deal because our words are game changers for others. We hold a lot of power in those words, so choosing them carefully is important.
The thing is we can never take words back. Once they are out, they are out forever. The person on the receiving end will never be able to look you in the face again without thinking about those words that hurt. The book of James has some pretty good verses about the use of our wretched tongue. Let me point out a few:
James 1:19-20 This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.
James 1:26 6 If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man’s religion is worthless.
James 3:6 And the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell
There are many more verses in Proverbs that talk about the dangers of our words. The overall theme is: if we rely on God and focus on God, then our tongue can be tamed. Pray before you talk. Ask God for Wisdom before you choose your words. Remember that whatever you say may change the game for someone’s day.