I love listening to books when I drive. When I travel I used to listen to talk radio because it was like having someone in the car with me. If I listen to music on the radio I tend to get sleepy and tired but hearing a voice while I am driving will keep me alert. The problem with talk radio was that I wasn’t always interested in the subject that the radio host was talking about. Then I discovered the app, Audible. Audible is an app that allows you to “listen” to books. So, if I am walking on the treadmill or driving down the road I now have the option of listening to a book that I am interested in.
The book that I have been listening to for a while has been, “Girl, wash your face” by Rachel Hollis. I have developed a love for self-development books and this one is fantastic. In this book, she mentions the “butterfly effect” and that intrigued me enough that I went home and looked it up. The butterfly effect is part of the “Chaos Theory” which basically says that every little thing you do and every little choice you make greatly affects your life. One of the examples they give is that one butterfly flapping its wings could cause a typhoon halfway across the world.
While I was considering the possibility of that theory being correct I started thinking about other examples that sounded more plausible to me. Words. That is what came to mind to me. I know as a child I said the rhyme about sticks and stones and how words would never hurt me but I now know that isn’t true. A careless word spoken can have the same “butterfly effect” on a person.
Let’s use a fictional example of a less than perfect parent. The hurtful words are said out of anger or out of lack of love. Those words are imprinted deep into a child’s heart and mind. The child can spread the hurt because that is all that it knows. The lack of friends or relationships is a direct response to words said years earlier. Then, even if that child finds love later on in life, the words won’t leave the mind. Believing the hurtful words is easier to believe than uplifting words later in life. You can already imagine the words that would be spoken later to any children that would come later in life.
What if instead of hurtful words the child hears uplifting words and words of love? What would the effect have? Would the child be friendly, outgoing, and confident? Would the child be loving and friendly? What do you think the words would be to children later on in their life?
I know that we have ALL said words in anger and immediately wished that we could take them back.
In Proverbs 21:23 it says “Watch your words and hold your tongue; you’ll save yourself a lot of grief.” In Ephesians 4:29 it says “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” And, in Proverbs 15:4 it says “The soothing tongue is a tree of life, but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit.”
The Bible is full of verses about the tongue and our words. Maybe the “butterfly effect” was started all those many years ago and is still having its effect on us. This is not a new problem and not one that can easily be corrected. But, I do believe that looking to the Lord and asking him to help you temper your words is a start. Pay close attention to your words and realize how they can alter someone’s life. And, if you were the victim of hurtful words earlier in your life just be aware that they were not really about you. The words were more about the person doing the talking. You have the ability to alter your life. You don’t have to continue to be swept up in the world wind of hurtful words.
James 3: 2-10
2 We all stumble in many ways. Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect, able to keep their whole body in check.
3 When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. 4 Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. 5 Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. 6 The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.
7 All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, 8 but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.
9 With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.
If you are going to believe words spoken to you, then believe these: “I think you are awesome and I am so glad that we are friends!”
Have A Blessed Day!