Our words have a profound effect on those around us. We don't always realize it because of how much we talk, but every word we utter will have an effect. Funtrivia.com quoted a professor from the University of California that "a woman uses about 20,000 words per day while a man uses about 7,000".
Lets take the greatest compilation of words ever spoken: The Bible. The Bible has it all: joy, sadness, romance, murder, jealousy, conspiracy, excitement, worry etc... I could go on with adjectives all day, but the facts remain the same. The Bible not only has all of the ingredients people use to measure a good book or whether they'll make a movie of that book, but it's all true! Every word contained in that book came from God, inspired by Him. In times of great distress or worry about the future I have turned to God's Word. It didn't always have the concrete answer I was looking for, but it did offer comfort. To read the Psalms that King David wrote is so inspiring. David was afraid, angry, jealous, happy and every other emotion you can think of-he felt it. It's all documented in the words chronicling David's life. This is the man God chose to lead His people. This is the man whose descendants God chose for Jesus to come through.
The title of my blog is "He Who Began A Good Work..." I chose these specific words because Philippians is one of my favorite books in the Bible and chapter 1 verse 6 is one of my favorite contained in that book. "Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:" It holds such a promise to us. God is there working in you until Jesus comes back. Great stuff that is.
There are words that have greatly affected us as a country. Great men and women who at the time didn't realize the historical implications of the words they chose to speak. Some words reporting great tragedies that we would forever remember.
In 1873 Susan B. Anthony delivered a speech about women's right to vote. Where would be as women today without her words? Patrick Henry's "Give me liberty or give me death speech" on March 23, 1775, Lincoln's Gettysburg address on November 19, 1863, and Martin Luther King Jr's "I have a dream speech on August 28, 1963. These speeches have such a historical significance. Humanity was made better by these words. These words inspired change and spurred people into action. Our country was forever changed on November 22, 1963 when Walter Cronkite reported that the President of the United States had been shot and killed while riding in his motorcade and changed again as we watched and listened to the worst tragedy to ever strike on American soil on September 11, 2001. I could sit and write all day about the first words spoken from the moon, FDR's "Infamy" speech after Pearl Harbor, the announcement that MLK Jr. had been assassinated, and the many declarations of war. No matter the many examples I recite the conclusion is still the same: words are powerful.
I bet we all remember where we were when these words were heard (depending on age). Although I am certain that anybody heard Patrick Henry, Susan B. Anthony, or Lincoln's speeches. There are also words we heard that didn't change our country or world forever, but they are forever etched into our memories. My sister listed some memories on her blog the other day and among them were when she heard her father had died. Those words forever changed her. Hearing the words that Derek had cancer or that Grandma Kay died changed the landscape of my life and how I viewed that landscape. Hearing "Will you marry me" from the love of my life and at each ultrasound hearing the words that my baby was perfectly healthy.
We all have our own memories of words good and bad we remember. There will be more, good and bad that will have that earth shattering effect on us and those around us. There will be more speeches and reports that will rewrite history books. There is nothing we can do to prevent those.
What we can prevent? The words we choose to utter every single day. The things we say to those who anger us, what we say to our kids when they do what little kids do, and the gossip we spread.
How about the things we don't say? What important piece of information are you keeping to yourself? What aren't you saying that you should be saying? It's as simple sometimes as saying 'I'm sorry' or sometimes it's a little more earth shattering. The point though is that sometimes not saying something is just as damaging as the hateful, angry words we do utter.