Life and Death Are in the Power of…

October 14, 2019


Let’s start today with this thought from Frank Outlaw. Watch your thoughts, they become words. Watch your words, they become actions. Watch your actions, they become habits. Watch your habits, they become character. Watch your character, it becomes your destiny! That’s great advice if you want to stand out by becoming outstanding in today’s world.

The key to this whole thought is in the first sentence. Why? It’s where everything starts. What was on the inside of someone is now released on the outside. Thoughts become words and those words set into motion life or death ultimately creating either their destiny and legacy, or sometimes someone else’s destiny or legacy. It’s scary enough our words can create our world. It’s even scarier that our words could be the start of creating someone else’s world also. 

Proverbs 18:21 puts it this way: “The tongue has the power of life and death.” Our words can either speak life, or our words can speak death. Our tongues can build others up or tear them down. An unchecked fire doubles in size every minute, positively or negatively. Be careful how you talk to yourself because you’re listening. Others are listening too. It’s one thing to mess ourselves up. It’s another to mess someone else’s life up.

So, let’s speak words of truth that create life, not destroy life. In your speaking to yourself and others, learn how to use the power of words in a clear, truthful, and accurate way. Become a wordsmith. What’s a wordsmith? A person who is an expert in the use of words such as a skillful writer. Wordsmiths can tell or write truth or lies in order to influence us by cleverness and skill, but in this article, I’m talking about truth, not spin. Become a wordsmith to yourself and others by using truthful words in your self-talk. 

It’s changed my life and it can yours too. I’m learning how to handle the power of words coming from thoughts in my mind that come out of my mouth. I’m not perfect, but I’m improving and ascending. Not only have I become a wordsmith, I’ve become good at ‘wordsmithing.’ ‘Wordsmithing’ means the making of changes to a text to improve clarity and style, as opposed to content.

Many times, it’s not what you say but how you say it that matters, especially in your self-talk. Quit talking ad infinitum to yourself. Learn life-giving, truthful mental wordsmithing in chatting to yourself and you will stop the emotional drama going on in your head.

Let me give you some examples of wordsmiths who have learned the power of life-giving, truth-based wordsmithing. These sayings are common knowledge, easily accessible on the internet. Just think if you started thinking this way, and then speaking this way.

This thought is on the power of ‘thank you.’ Rather than saying, “I’m sorry I’m late,” instead say “Thank you for waiting on me.” Rather than saying, “I’m sorry I’ve been too needy lately,” say “Thank you for being there for me.” Rather than saying, “I’m sorry to ask you for another favor,” say “Thank you for helping me out.” Rather than saying, “I’m sorry I made a mistake,” say “Thank you for pointing out my mistake.” Rather than saying, “I’m sorry, but I can’t make it tonight,” say “Thank you for inviting me.” Rather than saying, “I’m sorry for being emotional,” say “Thank you for loving me.” Rather than saying, “I’m sorry that I’ve been distant,” say “Thank you for being understanding.” If you are guilt-driven, this thinking, then speaking, could move you forward. Always accept responsibility, but never accept shame.

An unknown great mental wordsmith wrote this on grief. This quote has brought comfort to thousands. “Grief never ends. But it changes. It’s a passage, not a place to stay. Grief is not a sign of weakness nor a lack of faith. It’s the price of love.” Special thanks to my friend Pam Steele who lost her husband who gave me that quote.

Here’s a great job of ‘wordsmithing’ for those in commerce from entrepreneur Richard Branson. “A CFO asks a CEO: ‘What happens if we invest in developing our people and then they leave us?’ CEO: ‘What happens if we don’t, and they stay?’ Train people well enough so they can leave. Treat them well enough so they don’t.” See what I mean, life or death is in the power of the tongue, starting in our thoughts, not emotions.

Here’s our last life-lifting thought for today: “When someone is working hard to change, the worst thing you can do is hold them to their past. Forgive them and help them transform.” In today’s world, so many are like hammers. When you’re a hammer, everything is a nail. Where does this start? In the mind and then out the mouth, setting on fire many other fires. Only you and I can prevent tongue fires.

So, there you have it. A key to ascending rather than descending. A key for unlocking destiny and legacy. Most of the problems we have in our life are caused by wrong thinking, then wrong speaking. Surely the Lord has more for you than that!

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Ed Delph is a leader in church-community connections.
Visit Ed Delph's website at www.nationstrategy.com