A seed is a small thing. It seems insignificant on its own. But when planted, in due time, it becomes something entirely different. It might become a giant tree, or a field of wheat. It might become a weed or a rose. But whatever it becomes, it always starts out small.

This is not a lesson in botany. This is a reminder to our hearts about the power of our word-seeds. Yes, words are seeds. And they may not seem like much when we say them, but some (if not all) words have lasting impact. So lasting, so powerful, they are hard to overcome – for good or for evil.

I’ve been pondering the power of such words today as I realized I have a giant hurdle to overcome in my own life because of negative word-seeds that were planted in me many years ago. Without going into too much detail, a few years ago some very negative words were planted in me about someone that I love very much – my husband. At the time, I didn’t know if they were true or not and so, unbeknownst to me, I let them take root in my soul. Even though now I know they are not true, I am still, even after all these years, dealing with their roots and the subconscious effect they have in my life. These words were wrong, hurtful, and untrue. But they took hold, nonetheless. They took hold in my soul, and in the soul of my husband.

It is overwhelming to think of how something so insignificant as a word can have such a lasting impact on someone. It sobers me to think of the things that have rolled off of my own tongue without a second thought. Have I always been kind? Have I always been uplifting? Have I always given the benefit of the doubt? I can answer those questions with a resounding “no.” And in light of the challenges I face in my own life because of the words of those who would claim to be “on my side,” I am broken-hearted at the thought of the damage I have done myself.

God forgive me. I knew not what I was doing.

But I know now.

I know that words are everlasting, whether for good or for bad. I know that words can bring up or tear down everything around us. Not just people either. Words can tear down our jobs, our finances, our relationships, our joy, our peace, our trust.

But in the same fashion, words can build up. They can bring life. They can make all things new again. And when I think about the power of words, I think about my sweet children. I don’t ever want to be the culprit of their pain or challenges or fears because of some haphazard words I threw out in the heat of sarcasm. I don’t ever want to cause them to stumble because I wasn’t careful with my own, precious words. I want to speak life over them. I want to bless them with abundant love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, goodness and self-control. I want them to know that they are children of the God of Love who showers them with words of life. I don’t want the thorns of my past, my pains, my short-comings to ever hurt them.

I know I won’t be perfect. I’m not perfect. But I know Jesus and He is. And I know that perfect love casts out all fear. And I know that if I can live love and give love, they will know love and receive love. And I know that as receivers of love, they will in turn become givers of love. And that’s not a hippy song about idealistic notions of flowers and peace. That’s truth. The truth of God. And it shall set us free. Amen to that! Today is the day I make the change to guard my words, to think before I speak, and to bring life to everything around me. Because if I don’t, the consequences will be dire.

People can tame all kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, and fish, but no one can tame the tongue. It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison. Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God. And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right! Does a spring of water bubble out with both fresh water and bitter water? Does a fig tree produce olives, or a grapevine produce figs? No, and you can’t draw fresh water from a salty spring. – James 3: 7-12

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As a side note, my pastor gave an incredible sermon series last summer about the power of words. It changed my life. Do yourself a favor and listen to it here.