I’m not sure anyone else in our group noticed, but it only took a moment for one negative word to suck life from the conversation in which I was participating. I walked away from the discussion when it was over and carried death with me. I was surprised by the impact of another person’s negative word, and it caused me to pause and consider.
Think about the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Adolf Hitler, the teachings of Jesus and the Bible, how your parents and teachers spoke to you, and the verbal threats of bullies. Think about the letters and books you’ve read and the influence of the news media. Words have changed the world. Whether written or spoken words either kill or give life.
Proverbs 18:21 says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue …” (ESV). James 3:9-10 says with our tongue, “We bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing …” (ESV).
There are many who use God’s name to curse them selves and damn others. To me, that is an extreme use of negative words, but regardless of the severity level of the negative words we use, all negative communication offers death and not life.
I, too, am guilty of speaking death, yet I profess a desire to be an agent for positive change. I want to be a life gifter, and my communication has influence over others as well as myself, so I am compelled to measure the words I use when speaking and writing.
We wonder at the calamity of our world. Could it be we are actually damning our selves and others with the words we use? It may very well be our words are killing us. If words have power to change the world, and if we want the world to be better, shouldn't we be using life words rather than words of death? I think so.