Also true in writing. The difference between a “good” and “bad” book is often the effective use of words. Sometimes it’s a story issue, as in “total lack thereof,” but usually it comes down to how words got used and whether more people than not like the effect.
Words hold power in the Bible, too. The Apostle John goes out of his way to describe Jesus as The Word, the very Word by which all things were created (John 1:1). The Word who existed with God before anything else did. That’s a lot of power in a word.
TT: Please do not think for a moment I consider the Bible to be fantasy. I figure fantasy places so much emphasis on word power because of the truth of the Bible, not the other way ’round. Since God pre-dates us, we borrow His truth for our application rather than making up truth and inserting God. That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it.
The book of Proverbs warns foolish men are known by the foolish words they speak. It warns against speaking in the heat of anger, or sharing secrets, or gossiping, or just good ol’ fashioned speaking before you think. Proverbs has a lot to say.
The book of James compares the tongue to a raging fire, and the rudder of a ship. Words can ignite situations or guide your future (foot in mouth syndrome, anyone?). Who hasn’t experienced the joys of saying the wrong thing to the wrong person?
I’ve been thinking about words a lot lately. Occupational hazard for a writer. The good ones and the bad ones. The encouraging ones and the mean ones. Useful words and not-so-useful words.
When I started my writing journey back in 2009, I was ready with the harsh and critical words, and they came from a harsh and critical spirit. They hurt people, however unintentionally. I try very hard not to be mean on purpose (unless it’s to the nieces. Then it’s just funny). My excuse was “being honest,” but that’s a cop-out. It’s possible to be honest without being mean. Not always easy, but possible.
In the year since, the reality of the power of words has come home in ways I never expected. Praise buoys up, criticism weighs down. A thoughtless word can ruin a day or make a day. It all depends on the word.
I’m blessed to know many people with encouraging words ready on their tongues. I’d like to thank all of them for the ones they’ve shared with me over the past year. I am grateful for each and every one of you, and hold you up to God in my prayers.
I pride myself on being a good student. I intend to study this “encouraging word” concept and apply it in the next year. If I do nothing else, the time will still be well spent.
Happy New Year, everybody. Live long and prosper.