Words: The Power of Life and Death

Words.

Such common things.  We use them all the time, even sometimes when we’re asleep.  We have words in abundance, sometimes in an overabundance–yet they are still so valuable.

Have you ever thought about what separates great authors from bad ones?  I think part of it comes from the author’s ability to manipulate words.  Bad authors have about as much control over words as Ron Weasley had over the spells he cast with his broken wand in Chamber of Secrets–for those of you who are not Harry Potter nerds, that means not very much control whatsoever.  Great authors, on the other hand, manipulate words with the skill of the best musician, who plays without a single improper pause or false note and can fill you with joy or bring you to tears with the twitch of a finger.

Words have power.  For example:

You are a failure.

Your existence is a mistake.

You’re never going to do anything meaningful.

No one likes you.

You have no real friends.

You are pointless.

You will never be loved.

You are so precious.

You are here for a reason.

You are going to do great things.

You are so beloved.

You are surrounded by friends who love you dearly.

You can do anything you choose to do.

You matter immensely.

Who has not experienced the soul-crushing pain and hopelessness caused by the words in the left-hand column?  And in contrast, the words to the right have such power to inspire, heal, and empower.

Our words make a difference to people.  In our modern world, it seems impossible to have any conversation in which sarcasm does not make an appearance–more often than not, to jokingly tear someone down.  Is it any wonder that suicide, drugs, self-mutilation, eating disorders, depression, anxiety, and the like are so prevalent?

You see, in our words, we have the power of life and death.  We can say things that will slowly kill a person inside, or we can say things that breathe life into others.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, the power of words, and my reflection has challenged me greatly to watch what I say.  The truth is, I have an astounding ability to transform, by a lot or by a little, the environment of a room every time I open my mouth.

What will I choose to say?  What will you choose to say?  Will we continue teasing others, manipulating them to their own detriment?  Or will we instead spread love, encouragement, hope, and truth?

This verbal toxin has to stop.  We’re poisoning our fellow men with our mouths and pens, when we could use the same things as an antidote.  Let us start curing the world in the simplest way possible: Let us speak life into everyone we encounter.

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