The Power of Words

are powerful
forces of nature.

they are destruction.
they are nourishment.
they are flesh.
they are water.
they are flowers
and bone.

they burn. they cleanse
they erase. they etch.

they can either
leave you

or brimming
with home.”
― Sanober Khan

Words are powerful.  The saying “sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me,” is very misguided.  Words can hurt.  While they probably won’t break your bones, what is spoken can build up or tear down a person.

Like bricks in a house, positive words can create a strong structure that weathers any storm.  However, sometimes the words spoken to us, or the words we speak over and over to ourselves are negative bricks that need to be dismantled.

1 Thessalonians 5:11 proclaims, 

“Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.”

When I think about the words spoken to me throughout my life, I clearly remember the very negative things people have spoken to me, but I also remember the very positive things.  Unfortunately, the negative words people speak tend to shake us harder than the positive ones.

It’s important to learn how to deal well with failure, correction, and negative words, but it is also important to remember to hang tightly to encouraging words as well.

At a summer camp that I attended as a camper, and now as a Counselor in Training, we have a camp tradition called giving “seeds.”  The seeds are little notes of encouragement that campers and counselors write to one another to call out and encourage the good character traits we see in each person.

Words, like seeds, plant things that grow, either positive or negative.

Some of the greatest encouragement and healing I have received are from words people have spoken or written to me.  In fact, in one of my drawers, I have a basket filled with notes and cards that people have written for me over the years.  It is so encouraging to go back and read them  every now and then.

Words have weight.  We see this from the very beginning of the Bible.

In the beginning, God creates the world by speaking it into existence.

Genesis 1:3 reveals, “And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.”

This is such a beautiful image!

Just as God formed matter with his words, we also have the power to influence people with the words we say.  Not only that, but we have power to direct our mindsets with the words we speak.

Take a look at these verses:

Proverbs 16:24

“Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.”

Proverbs 15:1

“A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”

Ephesians 4:29

“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”

Proverbs 12:18

“There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.”

Matthew 15:18

“But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person.”

Colossians 3:8

“But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.”

James 1:26

“If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless.”

Luke 6:45

“The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.”

When I was in the midst of anxiety, eating disorders, and depression, I had people who spoke powerfully encouraging words of scripture into my life.  Scripture is the most powerful word.

Hebrews 4:12

“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”

2 Timothy 3:16-17

“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.”

I want to speak over you some of the scriptures spoken over me, because speaking truth out loud is so important.

*Note: This is not a short video (it’s not supposed to be!).  Skip to a little past 8 minutes if you want to get straight to the scripture part.

I encourage you to be aware of the words you speak to others (even those you say in jest).  I also encourage you to be aware of the words you allow to define you, whether they’re words spoken by family members, or words spoken by psychologists.


Stay tuned for Monday’s post!

Resource Mentioned:

“Renewing the Mind”  by Equipping Ministries International



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