I’m pre-recording my radio show tomorrow, interviewing 3 professional editors about the importance of the editing process.
As I sit here and ponder the title of the show, I’m struck by another slant on this truth, that words have power.
At the Northwest Christian Writers Renewal over the weekend, I helped equip writers to share their story, the message God has given them, behind a podium, as a speaker. But suffice it to say, both the spoken and the written word can change the world and set people free from the chains of captivity.
As I spoke to a woman who’d been through the Mars Hill debacle, we processed why so many won’t speak up when they find themselves in a toxic church where leadership is abusive. The story seems to always be the same:
- Don’t touch God’s Anointed
- Anything spoken that questions leadership or is in any way negative is gossip, and gossip is sin (if you can’t say anything nice don’t say anything at all)
- Take the log out of your own eye before you examine the speck in leadership’s eye
Anyone who does have the courage to question or suggest that leadership has a double standard or needs more accountability is labeled a heretic or a Jezebel or a Judas.
Words of Truth that accurately describe a struggle can bring such freedom and healing to others, so it’s no wonder that the father of lies wants to shame us into silence.
In the same way, the father of lies wants to keep us isolated, out of fellowship, and silenced when we are experiencing emotional pain. Thoughts ping around in our heads and set our hearts a churning.
“No one will understand me.”
“I’m the only one who feels this way.”
“How can I even call myself a Christian when I feel like I just want to quit?”
“I don’t know if I can keep going on like this.”
The same liberating truth about speaking courageously against spiritual abuse and toxic behavior rings true with speaking the truth about the thoughts going round in our heads. They sound so convincing when they stay in our head…but the minute we speak them aloud to someone in our lives who is a safe person… all of a sudden, the minute we blurt them out, we realize how ludicrous they sound when compared to the Truth we find in scripture. Our eyes are opened to the lie we’ve believed as it has slithered from our mind right into our heart.
Oh the power of words. Speaking the truth in love is a powerful thing. It liberates. It breaks chains. It opens our eyes. It softens our hearts.
But, here’s the disclaimer. Every random thought you have doesn’t need to be expressed. However, when it comes to pain and loss and abuse and trauma, verbalizing can be the only healing path. Just make sure the person you share with is one who is safe, compassionate, strong in the Word, and committed to healing and spiritual growth.
Is there something eating at your soul, that if you articulated it to someone who cares, it would lose its power over you?
The tongue has the power of life and death,
and those who love it will eat its fruit. (Prov.18:21)