Words are Powerful
In the small town where I grew up, there was a doctor who had the reputation of drinking beer. I really don’t care whether he drank beer or not, but that was his reputation. His yellow Jeep was often parked at “Jimmy’s Drive-In.”
That was a sure sign that he drank beer.
Because of the image that had been planted in my young mind, when I saw his yellow jeep, I often wondered if he had his beer in the back of thej jeep.
In a little league baseball game, I was hit in the head with a bat. I had to have stitches to close the wound. I was taken to the doctor’s office. He had me sit on, what looked like, a white table. He stitched up my head. When he had finished, he picked up a “triangle” type hammer and began to tap my knee.
At the time, the thought that come into my mind was, “Has he been drinking beer?”
When I had a fever, my parents took me to the doctor’s office. I was placed in one of the examination rooms. I was placed in the room where the doctor kept his antibiotics in a little white refrigerator.
I sat in the room long enough to think, “I wonder if that is where he keeps his beer.”
I was in the seventh grade when I arrived at school one morning to the news that the doctor was dead. His house had caught fire the night before. He had gotten his family out, his dog out, and had gone in to get some other things. He never came back out.
I am ashamed to say that I thought maybe he had gone back in to get his beer.
Now, I never saw him drink a beer.
I don’t know whether he ever had a beer.
I really don’t care.
But I tell the story because someone planted in my mind, with their words, that the doctor drank beer and it informed all my thoughts and images of the doctor.
Words are powerful. They create images and assumptions that give shape to the way we view one another and the world. Words shape our prejudices and relationships.
Is that why Paul wrote, “Do not use harmful words, but only helpful words, the kind that build up and provide what is needed, so that what you say will do good to those who hear you.”? (Ephesians 4:29 TEV)
What encouraging word can you offer to someone today that “builds up” and “does good”?
Prayer for Today
Gracious God, guide me today to be an instrument of healing and hope in the world. Help me to be a bearer of good news, planting words of love and hope in the hearts and minds of others. May all that I say and do today give you the glory and work for our good. In Christ’s name, Amen.