Within a formal prayer I often use, are the words, …take my mouth and make it eloquent in testimony to thy love. It seems a worthwhile request to start the day. I also pray as the psalmist does in Psalm 141” O, Lord, set a watch before my mouth , a guard at the door of my lips.”
Have you ever thought about the awesome and awful power of words? It is indeed necessary to place a guard at the door of my lips.
By way of example I offer the following examples of how words can make us very sad or very glad. The first time a baby utters the words, Mama or Dada---- much pride and joy. When that same child in adolescent rebellion says, “ I hate you--- much sorrow and pain.
When I was a chubby little grade school girl , my brothers were fond of saying to me, “hey, Ellen, you ought to go to Hollywood, the walk would do you good.” It did not do a lot for my already fragile self esteem. Recently, in a period of self doubt, I received a card from another sibling, containing a book mark that said, “You are a beautiful, resilient, courageous and strong woman.”I am sure you can all recount similar incidences from your own life of the power of words to hurt or heal.
Recently I came across a short story that really drives the point home- allow me to share it with you now.
THE POWER OF WORDS (author unknown)
A group of frogs were traveling through the woods and two of them fell into a deep pit. All the other frogs gathered around the pit. When they saw how deep the pit was, they told the two frogs that they were as good as dead.
The two frogs ignored the comments and tried to jump up out of the pit with all their might. The other frogs kept telling them to stop, that they were as good as dead. Finally one of the frogs took heed to what the other frogs were saying and gave up. He fell down and died.
The other frog continued to jump as hard as he could. Once again, the crowd of frogs yelled at him to stop the pain and just die. He jumped even harder and finally made it out. When he got out, the other frogs said, “Did you not hear us?” The frog explained to them that he was deaf. He thought they were encouraging him the entire time.
There is power of life and death in the tongue. Speak life to those who cross your path. Recently, a friend sent me these words written by Henry Nouwen.
Jesus came to open my ears to another voice that says, "I am your God. I have molded you with my own hands, and I love what I have made. I love you with a love that has no limits, because I love you as I am loved. Do not judge yourself. Do not condemn yourself. Do not reject yourself. Let my love touch the deepest, most hidden corners of your heart and reveal to you, your own beauty, a beauty that you have lost sight of, but which will become visible to you again in the light of my mercy. Come, come, let me
wipe your tears, and let my mouth come close to your ear and say to you, I love you, I love you, I love you. LET THESE WORDS SPEAK LIFE TO YOU.