Words have great power. While we know this, most of us don’t put enough thought into what actually comes out of our mouths on a daily basis. In fact, if we were to write down every word we said in one day, we may see that the majority of what we say is unfruitful or unnecessary.
In the same manner, we also are at the receiving end of negative words. I’m sure we can all recall words of discouragement that were spoken over us in the past. Something someone said made you feel small and doubt the person you are. We can also easily remember the negative emotions that were caused by those words.
So how can we get past negative words others have spoken over us?
First, let’s accept that we will come upon people, for the rest of our lives, who will have something discouraging to say to us. Sometimes, it can feel like people have an easier time saying something mean than nice. There will always be someone who has a rude comment or a distasteful word. But don’t let that be the reason you limit yourself. You were created by a God who molded you with care, and He doesn't make mistakes. We definitely can’t control what comes out of someone else’s mouth, but we are able to control our response. It is extremely important that we stay guarded. Don’t allow negative words to enter your heart.
Not everyone who says negative things actually realizes how their words hurt someone. They may be so used to saying whatever comes out of their mouths that they don’t think twice about how it can affect others. The way they speak can have a direct correlation with negative words they have personally experienced. They simply repeat the cycle of hurtful speech. The moment we recognize something unfruitful entering our hearts, we must hand it over to God and purposely choose not dwell on it. Just because someone spoke negatively against you doesn’t mean you have to accept it. Stopping the thought before it takes root in our minds will make it easier for us to forgive and move forward.
Psychologically speaking, most of our own negative thoughts about ourselves can be traced back to something someone else said to us. A parent or person we admired may have spoken negatively, and those words left deep wounds in our hearts. If we don't recognize the control we have given those words, and make the conscience choice to forgive that person, we may end up finding ourselves re-living the upsetting emotions over and over again. Harboring past hurts only prevents us from being happy in the future.
How can we be cautious to not allow our mouths to be the cause of someone else’s pain?
Having experienced discouraging words in our own lives, and knowing the pain it can cause, we need to be more aware of what we speak over others. We must think:
- Is what I am about to say going to benefit this person?
- Is what I want to say necessary? If both answers are, “No,” then it is best to not say what you had in mind.
Most importantly, we must think before speaking. Our ears and hearts must be sensitive to the needs of others. We must work to be aware of how our words can impact people around us.
Discouragement is one of the devil’s strongest weapons against us. When we feel discouraged, we enter into hopelessness, self-pity, doubt and other defeating thoughts and feelings. A discouraged person does not “feel” he or she can obtain anything great and, as a result, settles for a less-than-big life. This is exactly why the devil uses people we care about and respect to speak those discouraging words. What a perfect way to limit your authority! He uses someone you see as important to tell you that you are not worth much at all.
Whether it was your parents, your best friend, your teacher, or your minister that said something discouraging that left a scar in your heart, it’s time to purposely forgive and set yourself free. In the same way, we must always be ready to speak encouragement and life upon others. Make it an everyday goal to speak a kind word over every person you see.
It’s up to us whether we use our words to build someone up or tear them down. Your positive word or your discouraging word can change a person forever.
Which will you choose?