Words give life, or death.
“Be mindful when it comes to your words. A string of some that don’t mean much to you, may stick with someone else for a lifetime.” -Rachel Wolchin
Words are powerful and words matter. Whether spoken or written, words matter. I never fully realised the power of my words until recently when I noticed how my little sister was spending time on the internet, namely social media, and taking in everything she read. I realised that there are many other teenagers and even preteens reading things on social media and they were soaking in everything they read. So then of course there would be some of these young people reading what I was writing. I realised that people from all walks of life and of all different ages were reading my words. Having a younger sister (13 years younger to be exact!) made me fully aware of how words have an effect on her and how she does not often forget things that she hears and reads. I also realised that when I said something negative, even if I did not particularly believe it, she would believe it and it would upset her.
“Words are powerful and words matter.”
Of course, you cannot control what others read or hear but you can control what you write and say. It may seem insignificant, especially if you think people care do not care what you have to say. But even if the things you write and say only affect one person, that’s still something. And you can make a difference in this way, because, like I said, words matter.
I have realised that I need to be the role model I want my little sister to have, and her friends to have. It’s important to realise the amount of young people looking at your social media posts, looking up to you, whether you like it or not. We cannot ignore the responsibility that that places on us.
Isn’t it funny how you sometimes can’t remember what you did last weekend, but you can clearly remember something someone said to you 10 years ago. And you know what? The person that said it probably doesn’t remember it. In the same way, you can say or write something seemingly insignificant which is instantly forgotten, but the person who heard it could be impacted by it forever. You may feel as though these words do not matter. You did not mean for them to impact the other person. You may feel that this has nothing to do with you. But I believe that these are the words we are most responsible for.
“…these are the words we are most responsible for.”
Sometimes words can stick to us like a birthmark. Whether good or bad, words can stick to us forever and impact us over and over again. Be careful not to be the reason a negative word is impacting someone. Be sure to speak (and write) life, not death.
“In every encounter we either give life or we drain it; there is no neutral exchange.” -Brennan Manning
It seems exhausting trying to think about everything you say especially if you talk a lot (which I don’t, but it still seems like a lot of work!) and it seems tiring trying to think about everything you write down, especially if you are very active online. But I believe that just being aware of it can already help you to make a change. With many things in life, a simple revelation and realisation can go a long way.
I hope my little sister thinks I was put in her life to guide her and be her role model. But more importantly, I want her to know that she was put in my life to guide me too; to reveal things to me that I could have never understood if it not were for her. And I hope she too realises the power of her words.
“The tongue has the power of life and death…” – Proverbs 18:21