Reflection on Words


Rain on an Antique Bridge


It’s raining this morning, thunder rolling in and sending the dogs inside, keeping as close to my feet as possible. If I walk into another room I hear the pitter patter of their toenails on the floor as they follow me, seeking safety from a noise that cannot hurt them but always scares them.

That is not unlike the power of our words, and how though unseen can unleash a volley of fear and repercussions just from the releasing of them from our mouth. A new friend of mine had a great analogy for words. “A word is like a bullet. Once it leaves the gun there is no bringing it back.” Damage from words can be healed but I believe they always leave a scar. That scar tissue has to be dealt with each time we have a conversation with the person that damaged us or that we damaged.

As I look into the trusting eyes of our dog at my feet, listening to her squeaky pleas that sound like, “Please don’t let that awful monster hurt me.”, I think about all the times words have damaged me and how much I wanted that person I trusted to not say such things. Of all the times my words have inflicted damage that lost opportunities for me, damaged relationships, and created situations that just kept bouncing around and messing up so many situations in my life.

Jesus said, “Love thy neighbor as you love yourself.” “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

A recent comment I made on a friend’s Facebook post kind of took me by surprise but it makes perfect sense. Jesus’ admonition to love others as you love yourself would clear up most of the problems we have in this world, in the societal arena, if we loved ourselves. When you unleash a volley of vitriolic¬†syllables¬†against a loved one or co-worker, maybe it is because you don’t love yourself and feel you deserve to be treated that way and thus treat others shabbily.

Just a thought; maybe it will start a thinking process in your mind that will bring healing to your soul and thus allow for the love and graciousness that is innate within you to flow out and create peace in your social group. Remember those old graphics that depicted how disease (AIDS comes to mind) spreads, one person infects another who infects another and each of those “anothers” infect their own sphere of “anothers”? That’s how I see words and the damage they can inflict.

Words, reflect on them before you utter and unleash their volley. Listen, stop defending yourself, don’t react to words that aren’t true, and don’t feel like you have to prove them wrong. If they are in fact not the truth then the truth will come out. If they are the truth, take them to heart and don’t allow your defensiveness to disallow the healing those words could give. Ask for and give forgiveness in situations inflicted by words and actions spoken and acted out in haste and anger.

Words, so powerful, so filled with possibilities–how will you speak today?

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