Words have power.
Words are creative.
The poetry of the Bible colorfully expresses the creative power of words:
And God said, Let there be light… (Genesis 1:3).
By the word of the Lord the heavens were made (Psalm 33:6).
…the worlds have been prepared by the spoken word of God (Hebrews 11:3).
With our words, we create worlds.
I had a phone conversation yesterday with someone very close to Denise and me. The call was on speaker so Denise and I could both participate. We are both involved in the sad, tragic situation which was the topic of the conversation. The voice on the other end of the call told me that he was “done with me,” that I am, “dead to him,” that as far as he is concerned, I “no longer exist.”
When the “goodbyes” were said. Denise and I looked at each other – in a state of disbelief – and she asked, “Does your stomach hurt?” “Like a mother,” I answered.
Words wrecked my world – at least my stomach.
We create worlds with our words. Maybe our words are not just a response to the world around us. Maybe the world around us is a response to our words.
What kind of worlds are we creating with our words?
A lot has been said and written since the shootings in El Paso and Dayton about our “environment of hate and racism” – our “world of hate and racism”.
Here’s my question:
Have words created this world of hate and racism?
Yes. How can that be denied?
Just read the manifesto of the shooter involved in the El Paso massacre.
In it are words.
Words of hate and racism.
He refers to Latino/a immigrants as “invaders” who could only be stopped by deadly force. He argues that interracial relationships are a reason to “send them back,” referring to second and third genertion Mexican-Americans.
His words were fueled by hate. His actions were fueled by words.
Luke records the story of another terrorist in the 1st century who was fueled by hate. The objects of his hate, the victims of his hate, were people of the Way – the Way of Jesus. Christ-followers.
Luke writes in Acts 9:1 that Saul was breathing threats and murder. The Greek word for “breathing” is “empnueo” from “en” and “pnueuo” – “in breath.”
Saul breathed the air of hate. He breathed it in. He breathed it out.
Commit acts of terror.
Saul was a terrorist who lived in an atmosphere of hate. His atmosphere changed when he “was blinded by the light” (Acts 9:3).
Whenever we speak we put words in the air.
We create the air that others breathe.
There are homes, schools, places of business and houses of government and worship where the air is polluted with hateful words.
We can change the air quality. We can create a better world. Shed a little light.
Yes, I am a master at mixing metaphors. But you get the idea.
Remember, this is not so much about the other guy as it is about me. As it is about you. What are you and I doing to create with our words a better world?