Alfred, a friend of mine, decided to visit Gold’s Gym. This is the place where men the size of boxcars seem to have nothing else to do but “pump iron” by the eon. As he entered, a square-jawed, muscle-bound, steel-gripping specimen grasped his hand and exclaimed, “HI! BIG GUY!”
Now Alfred, an accountant who has never lifted anything much heavier than a paperweight, thought to himself, “Is he talking to me? Does he think I am a ‘BIG GUY?'” And with that he entered Gold’s determined to do something about his sagging coat hanger-sized deltoids.
Talk about THE POWER OF WORDS!
Ever call your kid “stupid”? Or, “lazy”? Or scold him with, “Can’t you ever do anything right?” Guess what? Your words become self-fulfilling prophecies. When I was a teenager, a close relative said to me, “I don’t trust you.” And from that day on I determined to give her reason not to trust me, and I became a juvenile delinquent. Again, THE POWER OF WORDS!
Solomon drove home THE POWER OF WORDS in stating, “The tongue has the power of life and death… ” (Proverbs 18:21a)
Instead of calling the kid “stupid,” why don’t you grab him (or her) by the shoulders and say, “Wow, you are something! Am I ever proud of you! What a privilege it is for me to be your parent!” Like my friend Alfred, the kid might just decide to do something about his coat hanger-sized life and rise to your expectation. Again, THE POWER OF WORDS!
Nathaniel, upon hearing of Jesus Christ, made a derogatory remark concerning his place of birth, “Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?” Instead of retaliating, the Master drew attention to Nathaniel’s integrity, “Here is a true Israelite, in whom there nothing false“. And Nathaniel’s response? Instant belief: “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel.” (John 1:45-51) Clearly, Jesus understood and demonstrated THE POWER OF WORDS.
Paul appreciated THE POWER OF WORDS in asserting, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs… ” (Ephesians 4:29a)
QUESTION: When was the last time you used THE POWER OF WORDS to build up your spouse with a kind word, or a note of encouragement? Or an employee? Or a colleague? Or one of your kids? Silence – saying nothing – is usually interpreted negatively by others as anger, indifference or disapproval… As anything but affirmation.
The behemoth at Gold’s Gym understands THE POWER OF WORDS!