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Why Our Words Matter

Why what we say can hurt or heal

Women talking

Let my words and my thoughts be pleasing to you, Lord, because you are my mighty rock and my protector. (Psalm 19:14, CEV) 

You’d think I’d know this. After all I am a writer. I make my living through the use of words. However I sometimes miss the obvious. Fortunately God is always faithful to bring my attention back to what’s important. 

He emphasized this particular lesson one afternoon while our son was on his second deployment. I was out with a group of women and one of them began to criticize our involvement in the current Middle Eastern conflict. She didn’t confine her remarks to the failings of our leaders, but began to rail against those in the military. 

She accused those serving of being ignorant and unable to do anything useful with their lives—perfect pawns for corrupt government. Her words tore at my heart as the anger built up. Before I could fire back with my own hurtful words, another woman intervened.

She gently reminded the woman that we had a military mom in our midst. And went on to say that she was certain it hadn’t been that woman’s thought to insult me or my son. She talked about the fact that without having been in a specific circumstance, it’s easy to make blanket judgments. She finished with a statement that has remained with me since: “Whether we use them carefully or without thought, our words matter, and they carry great weight.” 

The woman who’d started the conversation had paled on hearing I had a son in the military and now turned to me with tears in her eyes. She begged me to forgive her. My own anger died and instead of blasting her for all the hurtful things she said, I chose to forgive.

Yes, words matter. That day I learned how they could hurt, and how they could heal. 

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