Words: Words of Life

 

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

This is the final post of my five week series on the power of words. We have all been impacted by the words of another. Some words have imbued us with confidence, while others have deflated us. We are created to be communicators. So, when there are words, how do we use them well? 

Let’s explore this over the next few weeks. I hope you’ll join me and add your thoughts to the conversation! If you want to read previous posts, click: When There Are Words.

 

Words have power.

I still remember the day. I was sitting in the teacher’s lunchroom, taking my break when they walked in.

Two teachers who were besties. They sat in such a way that one wouldn’t have to look at me. And then they proceeded to whisper and shoot furtive glances my way.

Talk about uncomfortable.

 

There’s nothing like these body language messages to make a girl feel demeaned. They were older than me. They should have known better.

But instead of working through whatever difference the one woman had toward me, she chose the mean girl route. I slunk from that room just as quickly as I could swallow my food past the lump growing in my throat. And I escaped the poison floating on the air in that room.

I don’t know why women do this to each other. Why we let our insecurities rule and seek to hurt others rather than to build each other up.

Why we choose the way of hurt rather than the way of grace.

 

The only thing I can figure is that some of us have so much hurt inside, we have so much eating us away at our core, that the only way we can figure to stop the pain is to hurt someone else.

To make someone else feel worse in our attempts to feel better. If I had to guess, I’d bet most women have fallen prey to this lie at some point in our lives. In our attempts to feel better about ourselves, we look for the flaw (real or imagined) in another and exploit it.

When insecurities dictate our words, we’ll always maim someone.

 

But if women chose words of life rather than words that maim?

What if we could speak encouragements to each other?

What if, when we saw another succeeding in an area where we’ve not yet found success, we could encourage each other?

What if, instead of giving into jealousy, we could lift each other up?

 

Isn’t that what Jesus does? Yes, I know. He’s a man.

The only perfect person to ever walk the earth.

Instead of death, He chose words of life. For the woman at the well. For the woman caught in adultery.

He saw their shame and covered them with the grace of forgiveness.

What if we could do that for the people around us?

When we find our value in who God says we are—and we believe it? That’s when speaking words of life comes more naturally.

 

When we deal with our past hurts by bringing them to the foot of the cross . . .

when we release them into God’s hands . . .

that’s when our real healing begins.

Healing can never be accomplished at the expense of someone else’s dignity. It happens when we begin to trust Jesus with our wounds.

 

When we choose to look beyond our hurts . . .

When we decide to view others through Jesus’ filter of grace . . .

Then, maybe, we can be a part of someone else’s healing.

When we speak words of life to others, God’s healing works deeper into our hearts. His power prevails when we speak words of life.

I wish I could say things eventually smoothed out between me and the other teacher. But I can’t.

 

The beauty in this story is that God used the hurts she inflicted to help me to begin seeing how He values me, and each of His children.

Whether or not others do.

His words are the most powerful and they are life-giving.

What about you? How have you seen God’s healing in you through someone’s words of life? How has God helped you to see others as He does?

Click to Tweet: Healing can never be accomplished at the expense of someone else’s dignity

Today I’m linking up with Kelly Balarie’s #RaRaLinkup, Barbie Swihart’s Glimpses link up, and Holley Gerth’s Coffee For Your Heart

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24 thoughts on “Words: Words of Life

  1. Jeanne,
    I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase, “Hurt people, hurt people.” In other words, people who are hurting themselves tend to strike out and hurt others. I try to keep this in mind when I am on the receiving end of hurtful words. Often the hurtful words they say actually say more about them and less about me. Being a sensitive person who takes things very personally, this has been an obstacle for me to overcome. Ultimately focusing on God’s opinion of me better helps me to let hurtful words bounce off rather than sink in….still working on this. Thank you for the reminder to let my words give life.
    Blessings,
    Bev xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bev, I think I’ve tried three times to get a comment off to you this afternoon. Sigh. One of those days. Anyway, I have heard that saying, and you’re spot on. I like your perspectives of 1) when someone is hurtful toward us they have some hurt of their own, and 2) their words are reflective of them and where they’re at.

      I’m a sensitive person too, and with my set of wounds, words can have a searing impact. I think that is why God has challenged me to learn to keep my eyes set on Him and to find my value in Him. And, like you, I’m still working on it too. Thanks for sharing your wisdom here, friend!

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    • For months, I had a sticky note with “hurt people hurt people” on my work computer–to remind me not to take those hurts personally. You’re right, Bev, it’s more about them than me. It cries for grace.

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  2. Beautiful post — but I’m sorry you had to experience that sad relationship. We’re all in middle school, it seems, when it comes to the girl friend thing. This series on words makes me so grateful that God chose to communicate with us through a written word, and it reminds me that my own words are weighty, even when I’m not aware of the fact.

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    • Thanks, Michele. Thankfully, it was many years ago. And yeah, the girlfriend thing can be hard to navigate at times, even as longtime adults. 🙂 Thankfully, God has surrounded me with safe friends, which makes it easier to be myself. I’m so glad God communicates with us through His written word too. I love your final thought about remembering that each word is weighty. Thanks for sharing your wisdom!

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  3. I’m glad we’re neighbors this week over at #TeaAndWord! Thank you for sharing these thoughts about being careful with our words, and finding God’s Grace within them. I’m so blessed by this: “The beauty in this story is that God used the hurts she inflicted to help me to begin seeing how He values me, and each of His children.” HIS Words about and to us are filled with such Grace, aren’t they? Oh, may I let Him soften my words to express that same value to others. –Blessings!

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    • Bettie, it’s so nice to “meet” you! Isn’t it an amazing thing, that as sinful as we can be sometimes, His words are still gracious toward and about us? That kind of love is beyond what I can truly fathom. I’m so glad you stopped by!

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  4. They weren’t besties, Jeanne. They were beasties.

    I’ve heard it used as an excuse so often…”This is just how we women/men relate to each other.” It’s a self-given pass that covers a multitude of cruelties.

    I try to look at everyone as if they are beloved of God.

    Even me, and that can be the hardest grace of all to extend.

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    • Andrew, thank you. Your words are always so life-giving. And. you’re right, we can’t use the excuses you’ve mentioned. They leave far too much room for cruelty. Looking at everyone as if they are beloved by God is a great way to think when communicating with others. And, I’m glad you’re working to extend grace to yourself as well. It’s hard to do, but freeing, too. Sending you prayers and hugs, my friend.

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  5. I think that most of us can recall an experience like yours… when someone chose to speak death instead of life. But even when we hear those kinds of words from others, we can allow the Words of God to bring healing! Thanks for your post!

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    • Karen, I’m sure you’re right. We’ve all had experiences where others have hurt us with words. And you’re right. We need to put more stock in God’s words toward and over us than on the words others speak toward us. I so appreciate you stopping by!

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  6. I would have been very uncomfortable in that cafeteria situation too. I’m not sure why people do such things either; surely they don’t realize the extent of pain they are causing. 😦 Thanks for the reminder here to use our words (and body actions) wisely and for good, not bad.

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    • Lisa, it’s interesting to think about whether the pain inflicted was intentional or not. I still think, in the situation I shared, one woman definitely meant to inflict pain. But, looking back to that point in my past, I also suspect she was an insecure woman and hurting from things I didn’t know about. There are time when we say things/convey messages via body language that we may not intend to broadcast. It’s important for us to be aware and intentional about the messages we convey, isn’t it? Thank you for sharing your thoughts here!

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  7. Just the other day I found myself reacting to a situation that triggered an old hurt of two girlfriends that I had connected, suddenly ganging up against me. Also, have had situations where a boyfriend’s girl friends nit picked me to him. It was like they tried to find things wrong with me. That relationship didn’t work-out, however the hurt never totally goes away from those girls. I have to be careful not to project that hurt into situations, thinking it is happening again, when it really isn’t. My brain is just going into an old memory. To heal from these situations takes awareness, intention and time. Our words matter, our body language matters, forgiveness, grace, knowing our identity in Christ….such an important message. Great series Jeanne! Thank you!

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    • Lynn, you’re so right. We have those mind memories . . . those things that dictate an automatic response to a new situation based on previous experience. Women can be plain mean to each other. You’re right, healing comes from awareness of the triggers, choosing to think differently and especially bringing all of it before Jesus. I was just talking with one of my boys today about his and my tones of voice toward each other. Words (and tone and body language) do indeed matter. Thank you for sharing your words here!

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    • Yes, Shelli. Misusing our words is a good way to put it. And our body language. May we remember that sweet words and kindness are so much more effective and life-giving than their opposites. 🙂

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    • Erin, I’m so glad to meet you. I know I’m not the only one who’s experienced the hurts inflicted by those who are hurting. It’s part of the human experience, I’m thinking. Yes, God sees. And yes, He works in our lives, and in those who have done the hurting . . . one way or another. 🙂 Thanks for visiting!

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