They can influence. They can hurt. They can heal.
They can be bitter. They can be sweet.
Words can be lies or they can be truth.
They cause many emotions to arise.
From the moment they fall from our lips, words have incredible power.
I am a woman who absorbs words. I linger on who said what or who didn’t say a thing. Because, you know, silence is sometimes deafening. I have carefully crafted words to pen my thoughts and feelings. Words have a tendency to stick to me – most of the time, not in a good way either. Visualize me with colorful post-it notes stuck all over me with descriptive words. They are semi-sticky and can be removed at any time and because I am emotionally driven, I tend to pick them back up again and get as much use out of the stickiness as I can. It doesn’t matter if the word is profoundly beautiful or crushingly harsh. I will wear them all.
That is what happens when you are a survivor of verbal/mental/emotional abuse.
Words have staying power whether you like it or not.
For a very long time, I couldn’t accept any constructive criticism. I mean, at all. It would send me in a downward spiral of self-loathing, clawing at my skin in fits of diminishing self-esteem. All I knew was how to let words sting my spirit and stain my already broken soul. I would have much rather been lied to in order to save any piece of me that was still alive inside. I was too broken to hear the truth, even if it was pretty.
Paint a pretty little picture with your pretty little lies.
So here is the absolute truth… listen to me when I tell you… lies shatter lives. It takes entirely too much energy to carry on with lies. It will haunt your conscience. And it will ultimately cause damage to relationships. Your words are far better suited when they are words of truth. Speak truth. Be honest, not falsely sweet. Be honest, not a liar. It isn’t always easy speaking the truth. We sugar coat in order to save face and spare feelings. We agree face to face to avoid conflict. We compromise WHO we are in order to crown someone else’e ego with glitter and gold.
DON’T PACIFY ME.
Yes, I once was not strong enough to hear the truth even if it meant that it stung a little. But there is greatness in maturity. There is greatness in living in WHO you are created to be. There is strength and abundance for our lives as we draw closer to Him and walk in faith. I might not like the boldness, in-your-face, kind of truth you have for me. I might have to absorb it still but this time it will be because I know there is a lesson in it. Do not gloss over the truth to save me. If you do, you are actively drowning me. I need your truth. I need my truth. You have got to be confident enough and love me enough to be honest with me.
Please do not pacify me in order to spare my feelings. I can’t say it will be easy, or comfortable, or hurtful on some level. But I have matured my way of thinking, of listening, of learning. I no longer want candy-coated lies and half truths. And I have no time for outright lies – I am diligently working to cut them off by every string that is intricately attached to me. So please, Love me enough to advance me in my purpose and identity.
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. – Romans 12:2
I was not called to shrink back and taste the bitterness of your words. I was created to persevere and to press onward and do good works. And I will not allow words to shelter me from hard things. I was made to do hard things. I was made to withstand the affliction of fire and stand steady in my faith of better days, of a better me, of a better world.
so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable,
even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and
honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; – 1 Peter 1:7 (NASB)
Here’s the thing, being honest doesn’t mean you have to be rude, vile, hateful and spiteful. Being honest doesn’t mean you have to be drenched in honey and rainbows. Being honest means just that, being honest. Speak from the heart WITH LOVE. When being honest, the words must be formed out of love, nothing else. Let your words build someone up, not tear them down. Let your words grow others not destroy them. Let your words be the very breath of Jesus that others need to hear.
Do not be reactionary. Be revolutionary.
Do not be demeaning. Be empowering.
Do not be confusing. Be enlightening.
Use your words for the betterment of the kingdom. Use your words to envelope the brotherhood with a love so deep that it isn’t afraid to speak truth into people.
Do not let your words taste bitter as they fall from your tongue. It serves no purpose. Instead, take a breath and let them be coated in love first – no matter how hard the truth is for others to hear. When loves speaks, it cannot harm.
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works – Hebrews 10:24