Maybe Those Words Mattered
by Debbie Holloway
"Maybe those words never really mattered at all
But lately those words run with me wherever I go…"
Those lyrics are from a Keane song that I’m currently listening to as I write. Do you ever reflect on the power of words? Words have so much influence, even when we don’t intend for them to. I’m currently dealing with a rocky relationship, and words have played a key role in the hurt and confusion. “Rocky” probably isn’t the best description… frayed, torn, broken, sporadic, and unraveling might be more accurate – but you get the idea.
The worst part honestly just might be that I have no idea how to deal with it.
I don’t envy people who’ve always had to deal with crazy drama, but I envy their preparation and their ability to keep it together after years of practice. I don’t have a background in Dealing With Crazy. I don’t think I’ve ever had a heated, angry, yelling-type fight with anyone outside my immediate family. And in dealing with family, all arguments have always ended with jam sessions or forgiveness or just a resolve to move on.
So when a relationship I thought was secure starts pumping venom in my direction, I sort of lose it. I’m an ugly crier, too. And my times of panic are bewildered, because I’m not usually a panicked person. To boot, I was often told growing up “you should be a lawyer” because of my passion for rightness and justice. So when my sense of “how the world is meant to work” gets thrown back at me in a situation I can’t control…. well… it’s hard. I have a soft and fierce heart.
This season has helped me grow in ways, though. It’s helped me think twice about judgments I make on people when I don’t know their story. It’s helped me remember to measure my own words. It’s helped me realize that I have no control over what someone will do with my words once they leave my lips. It’s helped me remember that love and loyalty must be kept up like a well-trimmed garden. Leaving relationships to take care of themselves sometimes results in a beautiful, out-of-control wisteria vine… but too often, it results in chaos, decay, and weeds choking out the flowers.
“No human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison” (3:8).
No human can tame the tongue. But God can. Give your words over to God before they pass through your lips, and let God reign in taming your tongue. It’s a daily struggle for me, but even in my weakness, he is perfectly strong.
Intersecting Faith and Life: Do rash words get you in trouble? Start meditating on the Word, and give your impulses to God. Are rash words from others hurting your heart? Remember, you are only master of your own tongue. Behave as one bearing the standard of Christ.