Monday, June 15, 2009

Words are powerful! A scary bit of information for those of us who love words.

Those of us who invest our time, talent, and funds into writing should remind ourselves of that truth every time we sit in front of our computers, or lift a pen or pencil from our desks. We should. But sometimes we forget the power of those squiggles we make on paper or screen.

I was reminded of just how powerful words are this past weekend. Our son and his children came to visit us for a few days. During our few moments of adult conversation he repeatedly mentioned two books that have totally changed his life this past year. You've probably heard of one of them, Blue Like Jazz. Reading that book made everything God has been telling our son for several years just all fall into place in his head and in his heart. The words of Blue Like Jazz made everything related to our son's faith in Jesus jell. He now has a renewed, vital, daily relationship to Christ.

Because of someone's words.

The second book is a rather obscure little volume written about relationships between people. I doubt you've ever heard of it. It probably didn't sell hundreds of thousands of copies. Maybe not even one thousand copies. Nasty People isn't on any "best sellers" lists at all. But the words strung together in this little book have been life-altering for our son. In its pages he has seen himself and other people in his life clearly. He's come to grips with some things, and made peace with some things and with himself because of the way this author expressed truths about how relationships work. The way our son relates to other people has changed dramatically.

Because of someone's words.

Now, here's the scary part. The same thing can happen with the words you and I write. We can leave behind us a golden trail of words that will lead others to life and hope and love and success and salvation.

We can also leave behind us words that lead people to falsehood and insecurity and doom and even damnation.

Or, we can leave behind us a trail of breadcrumbs that lead nowhere.

We get to choose before we hit "save" or "send" or "print."

It's a humbling thought that once our words hit paper, once they are bound and shipped and put on display they are permanent. They cannot be retracted. They, like feathers shaken from a pillow into the wind, can never be gathered up again and completely eradicated.

I'd better choose them wisely, string them professionally and creatively, polish them lovingly, send them out prayerfully.

"Life and death are in the power of the tongue [or pen], and those who love it will eat its fruit." (Proverbs 18:21)


Amy Tate said...

You have no idea how much your words mean to me. I really enjoy reading them, Miss Jean.

WordWrangler said...

This is probably one of your most powerful blog posts, my friend. I am going in search of both books!!


Jean said...

Thanks, Amy & Donna.

Truth has a power we cannot understand and often cannot anticipate, doesn't it?


Cheryl Barker said...

Thanks for this powerful reminder of the power our words have to influence lives. What a privilege we've been given!

Sheryl (Sherri) Crawford said...

Oh, Jean---this is POWERFUL! "Because of someone's words." Makes that Scripture reach right through and grab my heart.
Sorry I haven't written much on my blog lately. Been recovering from a black widow bite! Her venom was ALMOST as powerful as this post!

Sheryl Crawford (Spider-Woman)