How many nights do we lay our heads down on our pillows and are unable to relax, much less fall sleep. Instead, we find ourselves tossing and turning over the words exchanged during the day. Some of these words hurt deeply while others bring extreme joy and excitement.
I woke up this morning rehearsing in my mind the various words spoken, read, and texted yesterday. So many different words all are influencing my emotions, directing my responses or my reactions, bringing peace and calm or setting me on edge. That’s just me! What about you?
Interestingly enough, studies have proven that each of us is wired so differently toward the words we hear or we read. Depending on our own personality traits, biological makeup, and life experiences, we may pay more attention to certain words. This explains why two people respond totally different to the same text message, email, or spoken word.
For example, while one person may be extremely confident, strong in their personality, and raised in a very encouraging home, another may be the opposite; insecure, unsure of themselves and raised in an environment where they never measured up. Put these two people together and have them read or hear job performance words and they will respond totally different to the same words.
We experience this in the workplace, in our homes, and within our closest relationships which, most of the time, leave us scratching our heads and thinking, “what did I just say to cause such a reaction?” So, why today should we think so deeply about words? Words matter. People matter. In the Bible, Proverbs, chapter 15, verse 23 says, “A person has joy by the answer of his mouth, and a word spoken in due season, how good it is!” Words have the ability to bring such joy, encouragement, and strength to someone, especially words spoken in the right time and in the right way. However, just understanding our words and which encourage and which tear down isn’t enough. We must also seek to understand the people around us. Realizing every person is different; our words must be crafted just for them and delivered in the appropriate way at the right time … for that particular person. Again, why so much thought? If we choose to let our words flow from our mouths like letters pouring out of a box, not considering the uniqueness of the people around us, we will most definitely hurt someone, unintentionally. However, if we put a lid on the box, and choose which words, or letters, to release, all the while seeking to understand the differences in the people around us, we will become like the wise person in the book of James who has learned to bridle their tongue. That’s how Jesus asks us to live. That’s how we learn to be a reflection of Him, the living Word, who left us a love letter which speaks very personally to each of us; transforming us, giving us hope and joy, and making us feel valued and loved … like we are the only one.