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WordsPosted Friday, September 7, 2012, at 6:19 PM
"I HATE you . . . stupid idiot, you don't deserve to breathe . . . four eyes . . . pervert . . . monster . . . homo . . . fatso . . . demon . . . fascist . . . Muslim . . . Jew . . . terrorist . . . stinky . . . rag head . . . kinky head . . . rapist . . . ."
"I LOVE you . . . you make me feel so safe . . . you are so smart . . . beautiful . . . you have the most wonderful smile . . . that color is wonderful on you . . . thank you . . . you have the most incredible sense of style . . . ."
Words have the ability to tear a person down or build a person up. Words can destroy or strengthen. Words can be spoken to alienate or hurt others--yet words can be funny, endearing, healing, charming, commending, and treasured.
Words are important. They can describe an emotion, feeling, vision, or thought. Words can never be recalled. When used in a destructive manner, they can devastate lives for generations. Words have a life of their own.
God also uses words. Words like: this is my beloved child in whom I am well please . . . obey my commandments . . . love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your mind and with all your soul . . . love your neighbor as yourself . . . God created; and said it is good.
The words God gives us are for our good; to build us up; to inspire and reassure us of God unfailing role in our lives. Unfortunately, our words are often selfish, self-serving, narrow, and said without thought of consequence.
Too often it is easier to use words to tear down another rather than to seek mutual understanding. The school play grounds are full of children who tease, name call, and torment children who are different. From names such as fatso, four eyes, stinky, and stupid grow the words of hate, intolerance, prejudice, and bigotry. Words spoken without thought grow into a life of their own.
Left unbridled . . . un-refuted, words replay themselves in a person's mind and grow, shape and mold themselves until they consume the person . . . unless somehow they are replaced with the loving words of God spoken over and over . . . whispered into the recesses and cracks of the hidden pain and wounded heart. From the playground too often the habits of using such words accompanies a person into the work place, the home . . . and even places of worship.
It has been said that it takes at least six positive reinforcements to offset on negative statement. Maybe it is time to speak words of love, healing, reassurance, appreciation, kindness, encouragement, tenderness, and peace.
God, today we choose to build others up with our words. Help us to take a moment to think before we speak. Help us to use words to heal, encourage, and love. God, teach us to love with your heart and mind in our souls and on our lips. So be it. Amen.
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Rayla Stewart Hogue is a native of Dexter. She is a wife, mother, and minister of the UCC (United Church of Christ). She seeks to recognize and embrace the unending hues of God's ethne and religion, and commits herself to living and expressing this inclusive diversity through Sacrament and the spoken, written, and sung Word of God.