The Words We Speak
by Ben Wagner
”Death and life are in the power of the tongue; And they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.”
Proverbs 18:21 (ASV)
“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me,” is obviously one of the most baseless poems ever conceived. Without looking too much into that phrase’s history, I’m just going to hope and pray that this statement was supposed to be ironic. I’ve been on this earth for 21 years now, and in the time I’ve been blessed with, I’ve been wounded by words more than anything. In my reflection, to my surprise, I’ve realized that the words that have wounded me the most have been my own.
Proverbs 18:21 (ASV) states, ”Death and life are in the power of the tongue; And they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.” Now, my entire life I’ve always put this into the context of others’ words affecting me deeply and drastically. My mind always drifted towards movies like “Spider-Man” (2000) where Peter Parker is harassed and bullied relentlessly by the high-school jock Flash Thompson. The words sting the very soul of Peter who longs for something greater to come from his life. While Proverbs 18:21 can reflect the impact that others’ words can have on us, I do believe that this verse is also meant to be turned internally.
I’ve been a customer service and sales agent at MediaShout for 3 years now, which is hard to believe! Helping volunteers, church technicians, and IT agents grow in their understanding of what worship software can be and can do for them has been amazing. One thing I’ve realized however, is that many people do not know just how important Proverbs 18:21 can be when working with technology, computers, and worship software. One of the hardest things I go through as a customer service agent has been to hear the way that church volunteers speak of themselves in relation to their position. Phrases like this have weighed heavy on my heart and conscious for a long, long time,: “I’m no good when it comes to technology, at all”, “I’m stupid when it comes to this stuff”, “These crazy technical issues ALWAYS happen to me”, “I’m an idiot with this”, “You’re talking to a dummy here…”
There have been times going home from work that I’ve been genuinely heart-broken over the way I’ve heard people speak over themselves. It’s helped me realize that in many areas, I’ve done the same thing to myself.
Now understand me when I say that I am not shaming you as a tech volunteer if you have said things like this to yourself. All I’m trying to do is point out that our words have power over ourselves. From time to time, technology fails us. It can be finicky and hard to use. That doesn’t make YOU any less smart, dedicated, or valuable when using computers and church presentation software. If you flipped those words into powerful statements, I’ll bet you anything that you’ll see a lot more success in your technical endeavors!
What I’ve realized is that Jesus wouldn’t talk to us the way we often talk to ourselves, and I believe that is a perspective shift that can take us into an entirely new dimension within our personal lives, our jobs, and our volunteer work. If we start talking to ourselves like Jesus talks to us, how much more powerful would our lives be?
Call To Action: Present And Accounted For
Jesus tells us of the importance of our words himself in Matthew 12:36-37 (ASV): “And I say unto you, that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.”
If each of our words will be accounted for when we get to heaven, shouldn’t it be our goal to speak as much life as possible in the short time we have here on earth? Let go of the ungodly beliefs you tell yourself, and watch your life become fruitful in a beneficial way beyond belief!
About the author:
Ben Wagner is a husband, musician, skateboarder, and MediaShout customer service agent. He loves seeing people realize their potential in all areas, from enjoying life to learning more about who Jesus is. He currently resides in Franklin, TN, with his wife Kelsea, whom he just married in February and is expecting a child with in December.