Your words carry weight

By Dave Henning / July 13, 2023

“I don’t know what you do for a living, but you, my friend, are a prophet.  Your words matter.  Your words carry weight.  You have the power to speak life or speak death.  Could I be so bold as to add a hyphen to your occupation?  I don’t care what you do, you are a . . . teacher prophet, barista-prophet . . .”- Mark Batterson

“Caring for language is a moral issue.”- Marilyn McEntyre

In Chapter 5 (“Words Matter”) of Please Sorry Thanks, Mark Batterson stresses that our words create a ripple-effect.  In addition, for better or for worse, our words serve as self-fulfilling prophecies.  Consequently, Mark asks, are you:

  • giving people something to live up to or something to live down to?
  • speaking words that give life or speaking words that suck the life out of others?
  • uttering words that encourage or uttering words that discourage?

The Hebrew phrase lashon hara, Pastor Batterson explains, denotes derogatory speech that causes damage to another person.  Most significantly, it expressly forbids a person to speak or listen to such language.  For example, as the Israelites wandered in the wilderness, Aaron and Miriam vented their frustration with Moses.  Thus, they began to talk against him.  God heard them, and Miriam ended up with leprosy.

So, if our words create worlds, our internal attributes affect our external realities.  Hence, Pastor Batterson relates a Jewish story about a woman who visited a rabbi.  She confessed to spreading lies about another person.

In response, the rabbit assigned two tasks to the woman.  First, he told her to take feathers from a pillow, then put one on every doorstep in the village.  Upon her return, the rabbi gave her the second task.  To go and gather up all the feathers from each of the houses.

Certainly, the woman objected.  Because the wind spread the feathers far and wide.  The lesson?  It’s impossible to take back the harsh words you speak.

Today’s question: Do you agree with Pastor Batterson’s description of people as prophets?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Original blessing sets the tone”

About the author

Dave Henning

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