The Power of the Tongue
The Power of the Tongue
Dominic Dutrisac-Savard9681817ENGL. 213/4 Lec. BBJanuary 19, 2014The Power of the TongueThe phrase “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me” is said to have originated during the time of slavery in the United States. The idea was that it was better as a black slave to be cursed at by the overseer than to receive brutal lashes from his whip, which would often leave them wounded and in pain that only intensified as they continued to work. However, I think it is important to acknowledge that words are not simply sounds created by air passing through our larynx and do more than simply convey information. Of all the creatures on this planet, only man has the ability to communicate through spoken word. And while it is true that words cannot inflict bodily harm, they can incite psychological and spiritual wounds that can last a long time. In this way, words cannot touch our bodies but they have a real power to destroy our spirit. For example, words can stir up hatred and violence towards one another or build up one’s spirit by giving us hope and love.

Like tools, words can be used to help us reach our goals or to send us spiralling into a deep depression. My first bout with depression occurred when I was around eighteen years old and lasted for over a year. It was a dark time for me because I didn’t have a father, I was lonely, I had failed grade nine and dropped out in grade eleven, I had gotten several tattoos, I didn’t work, I drank regularly and smoked pot, I had many girlfriends and worst of all, I had no idea what to do in life. I was a “lost” child, as they say. But after some soul-searching, I realized I had started to believe some lies at a very early age. I believed my mom when she told me that my father did not want me. I believed my teachers when they told me I would not amount to anything. I also believed my friends when they told me how weird I was. I accepted the words that people spoke around me as truth, and consequently, I realized they had shape me into much of the man I had become. That is the power of some people’s word.And while certain words negatively affected my life early on, some were also used to build me up. I overcame my depression only when I slowly started replacing the lies I believed in with the promises that God has for me. For example, in Jeremiah 29:11 God declared “For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Believing those words can be extremely powerful, perhaps more so than chains and whips. By hanging on to His word, God was able to completely change my life around in just a few short years. He has given me a purpose and renewed confidence, and he has removed the cloud of darkness filled with hopelessness that formerly accompanied me everywhere I went. That is the power of his Word.

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