Words matter. Words have power. As much as we may want to discount this truth, it remains. No matter how often we forget, it’s still true that words matter. Just take minute and listen. Listen to how the people closest to you talk, hear the words and phrases they use. Now listen to how you talk. Did you catch it? Some of those same words and phrases that you heard from those around you pop out of your own mouth.
I confess that I minimize this truth too easily in my own life. I’m pretty sure that there is not much profound that issues forth from my mouth. What I say is mostly forgetable. Just ask my congregation on Sunday after the sermon:) Yet neither pastoring or parenting will let me forget this truth.
Often I find my daughter repeating phrases that I never realized I spoke. When she was two, my daughter was sitting in her car seat when she dropped her hands in frustration and yelled at the driver in front of us, “Dadgumit!” Needless to say, she didn’t get that from her mother. I know my daughter hears and repeats what I say. Even knowing this, I’m still a bit surprised when I hear her do it.
It also still catches me a bit by surprise when I hear people in my congregation begin to use phrases and words that I commonly use. I suppose it shouldn’t surprise me (Just because they look like they’re sleeping doesn’t mean they always are) but it still does a little bit.
So I continually remind myself that words matter. This helps me to follow the old children’s song, “be careful little lips what you say.” But it also helps me to work at intentionally using words that have positive, worthwhile meaning and are worth repeating. I especially want people to hear words that stress the importance of prayer, the character of God, the mission of His church.
What about you, what words are you repeating?