There’s a quote that says “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”
This is a good quote in a way, but I will have to somewhat disagree with the reality of the content of this quote. The bible teaches that our life and death is determined by the tongue (proverbs 18:21) words do have the power to hurt us. Words are a powerful force and the effects of negative words cannot be underestimated.
I talked to a man on a plane recently, we talked about various things from family to religion to politics and even the government. I think he’s a good man, but sadly he kept talking about things from a negative point of view. After talking to him for some time, my head started to feel dizzy. If that conversation was to continue even longer, I’d surely be disoriented.
On the other hand, I get encouraged and highly motivated when listening to people who speak positively about everything. I love following great men and women of God on twitter. Everyday they post encouraging words of wisdom. That makes a person want to jump up and face the world with readiness.
That’s the power of words.
Now that we’ve established the effects words have on us, let’s take a look at what it’s all about.
We all know how horrible it feels to be called insulting names or be told that we are incompetent or deficient in some ways. Listening to such comments on ourselves leave a deep scar on our psyche. I once witnessed a little boy around the age of 7 being dragged by his father in front of a movie theater, the father then started yelling at him in rage, calling him all kinds of degrading names in public. It was pure horror. I can only imagine what’s going on in that family’s house everyday. The boy having heard all those hurtful words would gradually form a picture he holds of himself. If he heard the word stupid being labeled on him plenty of times in his life, there’s a big possibility that he will grow up holding an image of himself as a stupid person. He could also develop a habit of telling himself the same thing when he fails at something. Because his subconscious has found its way to believe that it is true. Thus seeing himself in a negative way.
Where exactly does negative thinking come from? How did it all begin that leads so many people become disgruntled and end up using negative words on regular basis.
I believe it started from a feeling called Insecurity. A deep-seated belief that “I’m just not good enough.” Insecurity means having a low self esteem. When we think something good about ourselves or our condition, insecurity pops up and say “No, you’re not!” or “No, your condition is not going to be good forever.” It is telling us that we are not worthy of something good. I know a lot of people like this. Especially in the third world country I live in, Indonesia. People have so long been disappointed by the standards of the country that in a way, they have developed a low self esteem for being citizens. Whenever I try to talk about the positive changes Indonesia has achieved, I would always have someone countering me by saying that it will not last long, and that the cycle of corruption will soon destroy everything all over again. Sure I understand that traumas and unfortunate incidents would produce insecurities, but we now understand that insecurity is where negative thinking begins, which eventually leads to negative words being spoken.
What are we, as Christians supposed to do then?
What if we are a victim of insecurities ourselves? What if growing up, our parents haven’t been wise with their choice of words towards us? Not to mention all the traumas in our lives that has the effects of injecting insecurities in us.
The bible in 2 Cor 4:13 says that “I believe, therefore I speak.” So we must change our believes about us. We must replace those insecurities with a new way of thinking. A positive one that is.
We must defeat that voice that keeps haunting us, telling us that we are no good, we can’t do it, and we don’t deserve anything easy in life.
First, meditating on the word of God helps us shift negative thinking and slowly replaces it with positive thinking. The bible is estimated to have around 2000 promises in it. Somehow we tend to choose to overlook them. But meditating the word of God on a regular basis will surely change us for the better. The bible says “If you are My disciple, you will live in the word, and the truth shall set you free.” Free from insecurities is inevitable when we live in the word of God. There was one night when I felt heavily burdened. I was restless on my bed thinking about certain problem that’s been around for the last 3 years. My mind wanders away here and there, until a verse in psalms popped in my head. It says “God gives to the one He loves in his sleep.” Right then, I found the strength to shake off insecurities about the future and start speaking positive words in my heart. I believed that God’s will is for me to surrender my burdens and He will give me rest. A good night rest. And He surely will give to me what I need during my sleep too. I had a good night sleep, waking up in the morning feeling peaceful and joyful. That’s what the word of God does to you.
Second, the bible says in the book of Hebrews that Faith pleases God. And faith needs effort so that it’ll work. The first effort we can put in when having faith is saying it out, declaring it. But I also understand that not everything we have faith for happen according to the way we like them to be. So why do we still need to declare positive words? Because it pleases God. It’s not merely so that we can get what we hope for, it’s not exactly a law of attraction thing. Yes keeping positive mindset and saying positive words certainly have their benefits. People will be more drawn to us, we become more likable, etc. But the real purpose behind declaring positive words is to please God. So whatever the circumstances are, it is good to make an effort to speak positively.
Third. We have every reason to think and speak positively. Not because of what we have done, but because of what Christ has done for us. Regardless of what people have said about us in the past, keep in mind that we are children of the most high God. When the world says we can’t do it, the bible says we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. When the world says we have no future, the bible says that God’s plan for us is to give us a future and a hope. And when people say nobody loves us, the bible says for God so love us that He gave his only Son Jesus Christ to die in our place so that we may have life, an abundant life in Him.
Now that we understand the effects of negative words, what causes it, and how we should always be positive instead. I encourage you dear readers, to make an effort to live in the word of God even more, please Him with the things you say, and understand the He loves you very much.
Now, you can say good bye to your insecurities.