Words Have Meaning

Words Have Meaning
You have it heard say that a picture is worth a thousand words, but I was recently prompted to challenge that statement. Is a picture really better, more descriptive than words? What impact does a picture have on our lives? What meaning does a picture give compared to words?
In our lives we banter words back and forth so much that we think they have little meaning. Today, I want to challenge that assumption demonstrating that words have far more meaning than pictures and have a far greater impact than we realize.
Words have meaning
In hearing that statement that "a picture is worth a thousand words," I would agree until I heard the words "I love you" or "We the people" or "Give me liberty or give me death," "I want to bring hope and change," and "Love your neighbor as yourself." Those few words have far a greater meaning than any picture can give. These words paint a picture, create emotion, move people to action. These words are a foundation from which to build a life....or destroy a life.
Words do have meaning and power such as "You are a jerk" or "You will never amount to anything", "You're stupid," or "Loser." "I hate you" cuts deep to the soul. Words program our minds to live out those words. "You're lazy" delivers laziness. "Have something to eat for you will feel better" creates gluttons and obesity.
What you say does matter
How you talk and what you say does matter. The words you use program your mind and other people's minds. The words you say do matter. They tell of your integrity, your education, your ethics, your attitude and your care for others. The words you say influence others. They either build them up or take them down. Your words either influence them in the positive or the negative. Bad company does corrupt good character. Good character is corrupted first and foremost by words. Be aware of who you hang around with and how they talk. (Parents, see who your children are hanging with and how those friends talk -respectful or disrespectful, crude or honoring to others, etc..)
How you speak tells a lot about yourself. Is your conversation wholesome or full of negative? Do you speak on the positive or are you always a cynic? Do you build others up or do you cut them down? Are your words pleasant or crude, coarse or wholesome? Does crude slang just come out of your mouth and you don't even think about it?
How you talk to yourself does matter. If your life is filled with negative talk, cynical or fearful talk, you will be a negative, cynical or fearful person. Guard your words. Speak to yourself in a positive tone. Focus on the "Why I can" versus the "Why I can't." Say things in a positive manner, not a negative. Example "I am a winner, or I can succeed" versus "Don't fail." Tell your children or employees the behavior and outcome you want, not the outcome you don't want. For instance, if you want to save money, focus on that issue of "saving money" versus "cutting expenses". Cutting expenses is negative and creates a negative emotion. Saving money is a positive outcome. "Instead of saying "Don't be late", say to yourself or others "Be on time."
Your words tell a lot about you
How you care and view others is determined by your words, even your little words of expression. How you say an exclamation may tell all. If you use religious terms in a slang way, those words used in such a manner may be very offensive to others. It also may show that you are trying to be approved by a certain peer group. (We tend to talk like our peers.) If you use crude talk around others, it shows that you are not sensitive to others, for they may find it offensive. It also shows that you have lowered your standards in your own mind. You have convinced yourself that such talk is "ok" or acceptable for a given situation. It is always easier to lower our standards and how we talk (i.e. treat others) than to raise our standards.
Promises never kept
Today, people find it too easy to make promises and not keep them. The tendency is to make a promise then claim the circumstances have changed or justify to yourself that the promise really wasn't that important. We blame the politicians for doing this all the time. We hear the politicians, even our current president, justify why he can't keep the promises he made. Most people make a promise without giving 2 seconds of thought to the requirements of fulfilling that promise or what it does to their integrity. They make promises to sway you toward what they want. The promises you keep shows your integrity, not the promises you make.
Why don't we vote the politicians out for not keeping their promises? I believe it is that we have the same problem ourselves. We don't hold ourselves to a high standard so we really don't see that there is really a problem in Washington, your state or local government, or even with the management running the company. It has become too easy to make a promise, then not be held accountable. Who is to blame? We are. We must keep our promises, then we can begin to hold others to their promises. Change begins with YOU and ME.
Lastly, how you talk to others will determine the success of your relationships. If you affirm and focus on the positive, your relationships will be positive. If you find the negative, you will have negative. If you complain all the time, people will avoid you. Your words do have meaning and they determine your relationships and much of your success in life. If you use slang or poor pronunciation, no matter what your education level, people will think that you have little education.
Your language plays a huge role in your success
The language you use, vocabulary, phrases and pronunciation will determine what social circles you run in. Your words will determine how high you climb in corporate America. They will determine how your marriage goes, how you succeed in life. Choose your words carefully. Educate yourself.
How to change your words
1) Observe how you speak; focus on speaking in a positive manner. Use wholesome words. Replace the crude slang with other words.
2) Read a lot. Reading determines how we speak and the words we use only second to our peers. Read wholesome material; avoid books with a lot of cursing for that just re-enforces bad language.
3) Be aware of who your peers are and how they speak.
4) Avoid putting bad words in your brain - the biggest arena for bad word is entertainment. Avoid watching an R or PG-13 movie because of the words. You may think that seeing that movie does not effect your thinking and words, but you are wrong. You are deceiving yourself only to justify your desire to be entertained. Hearing crude, coarse words does affect us. It makes us callous, unresponsive, insensitive. It is amazing what we will put in our minds just to fufill the desire to be entertained. We will even pay for trash, over and over again, becuase we want to be entertained. We are called to be better people than that!
Colossians 3:17 "And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him."
Colossian 4:6 "Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone."
Psalm 73: 7-9 "From their callous hearts comes iniquity; the evil conceits of their minds know no limits. They scoff, and speak with malice; in their arrogance they threaten oppression. Their mouths lay claim to heaven, and their tongues take possession of the earth."
Mark 7: 21-23 "For from within, out of men's hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and make a man 'unclean.' "
Too many times we have a high opinion of ourselves, but our words truly show our hearts. Changing our hearts is the way we change our words. Ask God to help you change. Many times these habits are so ingrained in us that we can't change without divine help. Memorize scripture to help you change. Pray and ask God to bring to attention your words.
Stop going to places that put the negative, the impure, into your mind. Change your entertainment habits. Play a game or read a book versus watching a degrading movie. Talk with your spouse, go for a walk, etc.
Ask others to help you change. Your words will give you joy or sorrow. It is your choice.

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