The power to love.
The power to destroy.
The power to educate.
The power to uplift.
The power to unite.
Over the course of these last two weeks, I have been giving a great deal of thought to words - how we use them and abuse them, how we hear them and listen to them, and how we must always be cognizant of the absolute power that our tongues hold not only in our lives but the lives of those around us.
As one who makes a living writing and speaking, I feel a tremendous responsibility to do the very best I can to find the right word for the right person in the right situation. Unfortunately, I cannot nor do not always succeed at this endeavor, which is one reason why this topic is so close to me.
Understanding the power of words also leads me to understanding our immense need for grace and love - grace and love from the Triune God that flows through us in the speaking and hearing of words.
Last weekend, 30 ladies in our congregation went on the first annual NCUMC ladies' retreat, where they spent time exploring the concept of Finding Joy in the Journey. While it was really neat to hear about how many ladies learned and experienced a great deal about this subject, what has struck me the most is the community these ladies formed with each other. To think that these ladies have come back and are already on their own forming prayer and share groups where they are called to simply come and lift up one another in prayer while sharing their journey is essential not only to their individual health but the health of our community as well.
In addition, the 22 of us in our Disciple III class are spending this year diving into what it means to be a community of faith by drawing upon the lessons found in the prophets of the Old Testament and Paul's letters in the New Testament. Throughout these 32 weeks, we will be reminded over and over how essential community is for the health of all involved.
What do these last two paragraphs have to do with the concept that words matter?
Quite simply this: The more and more we invest ourselves into each other's lives, the more and more we commit ourselves to loving and being loved by one another, the more that we allow ourselves to move beyond an outer shell, the more we are allowing God's redemptive message of love and grace to be breathed into us as individuals and as a community by those surrounding us.
Also, the more and more we allow ourselves to love and be loved in the community, the more we will understand where the other is coming from, and through that shared love and grace we can move beyond words that might, by themselves, seem hurtful or insensitive, and into an attitude of grace and compassion that allows us to all grow in God's love.
Grace and Peace, Lamar