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Monday, August 30, 2010

Sticks and Stones

My grandfather used to say “Insults and encouragements are only comments until you own them, then YOU give the words power.”

Many would argue that there is power in words. Although words can be used to make things happen, the true power is not in the words themselves, but in the ownership of the person receiving the words. My grandfather’s statement addressed a vast spectrum from the discouragement of insults, to strength of encouragement. It is not as much what is said that counts, but what action is applied to the words that makes the true difference.

I remember growing up; we would play the “snaps”, which was nothing more than an insult contest. No one was safe and any imperfection that you had or were perceived to have was exploited for the amusement of anyone within ear-shot. It didn’t matter what was said about me or even my “mama”, every comment was laughed off in jest and rebutted by a more stinging comment back to my opponent. However, when a snooty little rich kid in my school called me a derogatory name…well those were fighting words. Believe me, there were more vicious insinuations in the words I heard playing the snaps, but I didn’t give the words any power – they were just comments. Granted, there was a different intent from the other kid, but it was still me who gave his words power by owning the insult.

On a different side of the same line of thought, growing up I heard a lot of encouraging words. Even the wise constructive words of wisdom my grandfather would impart - were only comments - unless I owned the action that gave them power to make a difference in my life. I wish that I could say I don’t make mistakes, especially when I know better, the truth is that I could even read the bible from cover to cover, but unless I follow the wisdom in James 1:22 and be a doer – mistakes are inevitable.

My post back in February titled “What Did You Say” focused on the action behind the words you say. This post is the reflection in thought of that concept and addresses the power in the words that you hear. The consistency is that we can’t get too hung up on words positive or negative; it is that action that we apply to them that give them the ability to make a difference. So what do you do with the words you hear? Do you empower them to positively affect your circumstances, or do you buy in to the degrading comments that people use to try and bring you down? My prayer for you is that negative words are taken with a grain of sand, like sand on a beach it is everywhere, and has little value. However when you receive words of encouragement, you take them with a grain of valuable salt, own them, and use them to flavor your life. Be Blessed.

1 comment:

  1. Thomas- it's been awhile since I've reviewed Grandpa's Wisdom. This post comes at a great time as my children have started back to school. Owning the power of words is a bit of wisdom I would like to share with them as they start back to school and experience both words as insults and encouragement so they can know what power to give to each of them.


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