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When Words Become Weapons

An excerpt from my book... The 40-Day Fast from Negative Thinking

 

Day 7

     When Words Become Weapons

 

You did it! You made it through your first week of the 40-Day Fast from Negative Thinking!  This first week you have spent a lot of time thinking about what you were thinking about. In this next week let’s take it one step further by thinking about the words that come out of your mouth.

 

The words that you speak have the power of life or death so choose them wisely.

Proverbs 18:21

New Living Translation (NLT)

21 The tongue can bring death or life;
    those who love to talk will reap the consequences.

 

I don’t know about you, but I love to talk. My perfect afternoon can easily be having coffee with a friend and catching up with what’s going on in each other’s life. I don’t actually stop and think about what I am saying, I don’t have a plan, I just talk. Luckily, I am blessed to naturally have the gift of exhortation, so much of what comes out of my mouth are words of encouragement. Unless fear creeps in.

 

When I feel attacked (verbally) or criticized I tend to go on the defense. My natural tendency is to say something worse than was said to me. I worked in the sex industry as a dominatrix for over 17 years so I was very adept at verbally annihilating people. To control, to manipulate, to humiliate, to speak death over them. People paid me a lot of money to be treated this way and I was very good at it.

 

I also spoke like a sailor. The f*% word was my favorite adjective, noun and verb. Of course I was surrounded by people who spoke much the way I did. One day a client said to me, “ You are such a pretty girl and such dirty language comes out of your mouth. You know that you look uneducated when you swear so much?” It offended me so I punished him for speaking that way to me. How dare he criticize me! His words cut me deeply. Later that night, I sat alone for a while and thought about what he had said.

 

HE WAS RIGHT! Even in the midst of serving the darkness I KNEW that my language was out of control. This is a very extreme example. Let me take you to an extreme on the opposite end of the scale.

 

I had a roommate who was a people pleaser. She really wanted everyone to be happy and had a problem with saying no. She was so afraid of a confrontation

 

that she would say and do anything to avoid it. She always over-extended herself and said she would do things she had no intention of doing. She would lie straight to my face, even though we both knew she was lying.

 

Eventually, one of us would blow up at the other, because of her inability to communicate what she really meant. In the end, I didn’t believe a word that she said, no matter how well-intentioned.

 

Somewhere in the middle there is balance.

 

When I gave my life to Jesus, I was miraculously delivered from my constant swearing. (In times of stress and anger it still pops out if I’m not careful.) Still, I was left with the nasty habit of interrupting and speaking before I really thought about what the person said to me, if I heard them at all, because I really wasn’t a good listener.

 

It was only very recently when I took a course on grief recovery that I learned how to be a good listener. In the grief recovery course, each week that we were expected to privately share our deepest wounds with a partner, we were given instructions on how to listen: Listen to the other person, do not interrupt or speak. Stay in the present moment and just listen.

 

At first I found it very difficult not to interject my opinions or my concerns, but after many weeks of practice, I have developed the skill of listening.

 

When you get busy listening, you will speak much less. I consider this a good thing. When I don’t have intention about what I speak, things come out that I wish hadn’t.

Ecclesiastes 6:11

New Living Translation (NLT)

11 The more words you speak, the less they mean. So what good are they?

As you go through this next week, pay especially close attention to the words you speak. Are you talking just to be heard or do you really have something to say? When you speak, are your words bringing life to yourself or death. What about to others? Are you encouraging others and being helpful? Or are you accusing and judging with your words.

Proverbs 10:32

New Living Translation (NLT)

32 The lips of the godly speak helpful words,
    but the mouth of the wicked speaks perverse words.

 

When I think about the worst moments of my life, I find a connection to horrible words that were spoken to me, or that I spoke to someone else. Put a guard on your mouth and be intentional about what you say, for the power of life and death are in the tongue.

 

Father God,

Please help me to pay attention to the words I speak. Gently remind me when I am speaking unhelpful words. Let my words be life-giving. Let my words build others up and encourage them. Let my words build myself up and speak life into myself. Thank you God that You are with me on this journey and together we will rise above every challenge.

In Jesus name. Amen. 

 

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