The Power of Words to Create Better, Brighter Worlds
My grandfather was a smart man in most areas. However, when I was in fifth grade, he gave me a dictionary as a Christmas present. What fifth grader wants to receive a dictionary for Christmas? But that wasn’t the worst part of his gift. The worst part was the inscription he’d written inside: “Sticks and stones can break my bones but words can never hurt.” It was at that moment I believed my grandfather was lying to me.
See, I grew up being bullied for a host of reasons: being overweight, having a single mom, being too smart, being too stupid, being left handed, liking Pokemon and not liking Dragonball Z. If I was different from those around me, they hurled insults and unkind words at me, and those words did hurt.
Maybe you’ve experienced similar situations. Maybe you first were the target of hurtful words as a child. Maybe your spouse’s first words to you this morning were inconsiderate.
Don’t get me wrong. My grandfather meant well when he gifted me that dictionary but he missed the point.
Words are powerful. Words can build you up and words can destroy you.
In the Bible, the authors wrote the entirety of creation came into being through spoken words. That is to say, words are so powerful they create whole new worlds. In another Bible passage, the author compares words to fire; beautiful and helpful when used correctly but deadly when used incorrectly.
We all have the power to create words. Many people have heard nothing but negative words throughout their entire lives. As a result, they’re largely miserable and make everyone around them miserable by using the same hurtful words. Their worlds are consumed with negativity, pain, shame and grief, which they often turn inward.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, there are those who’ve heard positive words. Their worlds are bright and shiny, filled with hope and excitement.
Each of us has the power to use our words to create a better world for all. Ben Parker once said “with great power comes great responsibility.”
The question to ask is if someone were to write a book of your words, what world would be created or destroyed?
It’s too late to take back words already spoken but it’s never too late to choose different words to create a better, brighter world in the future. May we all use our words to create that better world, filled with hope and joy and love and kindness.
Worship services are held at California United Methodist Church, 227 Third St., every Sunday at 10 a.m. Beginning August 23, services will be held at 10:30 a.m.
Commentary by Pastor B.T. Gilligan for Pennsylvania Bridges