The Power of Words…..and Forgiveness

I have been thinking about this subject nonstop lately.  I touched on it in my last blog.  Today, I am having so many thoughts about the subject, I know its time to write it down!

The obvious thing we think about when we talk about the power of words, is their ability to cut deep and hurt someone when used in a negative way. I sometimes wonder why it seems so easy to use them that way.  What is the purpose we have when we say things to hurt others or to cut them down?  I can’t imagine it is to make ourselves feel better.  I know of not one instance where it has made me feel better.  I have been thinking back this morning about the many times words were used to hurt me on purpose, and even the times I am sure it wasn’t intentional. I often wonder what brought us to that point.  What made it all build up? What was happening to warrant such verbal attacks.  Sometimes, it was nothing.  Those times, I was totally blind sighted. Those times, it was harder to get over it-if that is ever possible.

Do we really think about the person on the other end of our words? Do we ever stop to think about how our words will make them feel?  I am guilty of at times, not thinking about it at the time, but being HORRIFIED shortly after at the words that came out when we were fighting or discussing loudly! I am ashamed to think I ever made another person feel bad or cry. It is not something I could ever be proud of.  Tell me, what is the point of saying hurtful things?  It truly isn’t to make ourselves feel better. I remember times that I was aware and felt like I was standing outside myself telling me to shut up.  I only wished I had always listened!

I think the invention of the internet has made it much worse.  Not only do people say things to each other that I have high doubts they would in person, but the words are there forever for you to read over and over and over. Have you ever read the comments on any article or anything posted on Facebook or the like?  They can be brutal. I am sure people forget that there are real people that those words are directed to. No matter who they are. We need to remember that.

So now what? The words are spoken. They can really never be taken back…whether they were meant or not. I hope we all stop to think that next time before we hit send.  Why not step back, take a deep breath, come back and hit delete instead?

Forgiveness.  That is what is next.  I often say that forgiveness is not for the person who hurt you. It is for yourself. I truly believe it.  How can you move forward in life, be happy, if you are holding the negative words, the bad feelings, the blackness inside. You can’t. I have forgiven many in my life. It has helped me as a person.  It was quite freeing at the time.  Sometimes, I have to do it more than once or remind myself when old memories and feelings return.

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As I was thinking about forgiveness this morning and how it is for yourself, as many tell us, I was thinking about how it is beneficial to others, too.  Maybe not everyone needs to feel they are forgiven, but I think some of us, would like to know that we are.  That those things we said are forgiven. Maybe it would help us to move on.  (If only we could forget as well!)

Next time, before you say those hurtful words, or you hit that send button, think of this.  Do you mean it?  Do you REALLY want to say this and hurt someone?  Do you remember that you are saying or sending this to a real person with real feelings?  Would you even say the same things to a person’s face? How would you feel to be receiving the things you are about to say?

And if you have been on the receiving end and are holding that grudge or maybe lost a friendship over words….try forgiveness.  If anything, it can only help you feel a little bit better!

We ALL need to remember the power of words….and forgiveness!

17 comments

  1. I love your words today, Joy. Yes, I do think that forgiveness does much more for the one forgiving than the forgiven. It is a frame of mind and an attitude that has to come across and you described it so well. I agree that our electronic access has really changed things —we can harbor a grudge for a lot longer because we can keep going back time and time again to read them. Not always a good thing. Great words to ponder today, Joy. Thanks!

  2. I try so hard to always be kind. I’m 57, and I wasn’t always that way. People have said it is unhealthy to keep stuff inside, and maybe it is, but I think it is far kinder to “sit” on your thoughts than to spew them out. I’ve said and done things in my younger life that made people that I love cry. And I won’t ever EVER do that again. I learned.

  3. It is amazing how much we can want to say in one moment and then, be so grateful we didn’t in only a matter of moments or hours or even days later. So many bad things don’t happen when a person can wait out their anger.

    • I so agree. I need to not only wait it out, but instead of reacting right away when hurt, I need to walk away and not say anything back!!! It is no better than being the first one to speak! Thanks for commenting!!

  4. Yes, if we aren’t careful it is very easy to say things that can be misunderstood and taken in a negative way. And while we can do it without even meaning to–I have to remember that others can do it to me without meaning to as well. And then when THAT happens, forgiveness is mandatory! What do they say? Not forgiving is like taking poison and wishing the other person would die? Thanks for the reminder to let everyone off the hook–including myself!

  5. Lately, I actually have been thinking/deleting before hitting the send button. I’m sure that has been a wonderful idea and it’s really an easy thing to do. In real life situations, I’m not doing as well. I tend to always want to have the last word and to get to that point, there often has been a lot of back and forth between me and whoever I’m talking with (usually my husband when we are arguing.) In these real life situations, my safety button, much like the decision to “not send,” is to walk away. I’ve found my “words” are far less hurtful when they are shouted out the window of my car, driving down the freeway than when said face to face. Probably not wise to think and drive, but better than hurting the one I love.

  6. I recently wrote about how words can stay with us forever. However, the older I get the less I am affected by the hurtful words of others – and the less often I say things I shouldn’t. Forgiveness is part of my daily routine!

    • Thanks for the comments! Words really can stay with us…. I have to learn to just let the hurtful ones go!! I do try to not say things I shouldn’t!! If only it was always! It is wayyyyy less than when I was younger!!!

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