They Are Only Words!

We define who we are and create our own reality by the words we use and the choices we make… So speak and choose wisely… Truth Sayer

I recently innocently uttered careless words to someone I barely knew.

I was at the grocery store very preoccupied with a heavy issue that weighed on me. I took my groceries out of the cart and placed them on the conveyor belt then realized my cashier was a nice woman I had done banking business with before. We got to talking about her new job at the grocery store.

“It’s a lot to get used to after so many years of sitting at a desk. I’m worn out at the end of the evening. I’m very out of shape,” she said referring to her weight.

“Yeah, I bet you are,” I said, digging through my purse looking for my debit card–then was horrified at my own comment. What I meant to say was that I understood how tired she was at the end of the evening, but I know that is not what she heard. I know because of the look on her face. I felt terrible.

Of course, I tried to backpedal telling her I had a similar experience years ago when I went from a desk job to standing on my feet nearly eight hours a day; which was the truth. I knew the more I tried to correct my mistake the worse it would sound so I changed the subject. I should have said something like this instead.

“Sorry, that didn’t come out right.” But mortified by the situation, I just froze.

My words were unintentional. We all do that. Say something hurtful without realizing it.

I was wearing my favorite cobalt blue shirt one day when a co-worker stopped me and said,

“Elizabeth, you look so pretty today.” She eyed me closely as if there had to be an explanation. “I know— it’s your shirt.”

She walked away smiling, feeling like she had paid me a compliment. I walked away thinking. Okay, so what you really mean is that the only reason I may possibly “look so pretty” today is because of this shirt. Once I got over it, I knew she didn’t mean it the way it came out. She was a very sweet person.

But there are those words that are meant to be cutting.

They come in the form of negativity, jabs, malicious put downs, cutting remarks, mockery, jokes, and sarcasm. They can be wildly tossed about like a badminton bird. But they don’t land as lightly as those birds.

They rest somewhere in our conscience, and flutter back to us at unsuspecting times. Sometimes they follow us for a lifetime.

How many people can still remember a negative remark someone made about them in high school?

I can remember more than one!

These intended jabs have a malicious agenda. Like a razor blade cutting through paper they slice through our core as they are carelessly flung about.

“How can I miss you, when you’re always in my face?

“Oh, were you trying to be sincere for a change?”

“She talks a lot but doesn’t say much.”

“He dumped her? What a surprise!”

“What are you thinking about? Oh wait, that requires a brain.”

“Seriously, do you know how to spell?

”She’s as dumb as a box of rocks.”

“You can’t be that dense!”

“Why can’t he ever get it right?”

“You have gained weight! But why, why did you gain weight?” I will never forget those words from over twenty years ago. They were said to me by my former mother-in-law. She lived out of state so I had not seen her in years. Those were her first words to me as she crossed the threshold into my house. No wonder I literally broke out in pancake-sized hives when I found out she was coming to visit for a week!

Sarcasm and “joking” are the worst in my opinion. We toss these seeds of negativity on the fresh soil of someone’s heart. Some people don’t even realize they drive loved ones away with their words; others seem to especially delight in jabbing.

They are the opposite of a blessing in disguise. With these words we get to say how we really feel by making a jab, then we add a band aid at the end in an attempt to disguise our jab.

“It was just a joke!”

“I was only kidding!”

“Sheesh, what is wrong with you. Can’t you take a little teasing?”

“You just don’t understand my sense of humor.”

Humor? Yeah, but at whose expense? And—why the negative comments?

Evening comedy is saturated with sarcasm.

Take Everybody Loves Raymond. Remove the sarcasm, over 80% of the lines; and you would not have a show. I have to admit, some of it is funny. Frank gets all the good lines. But we all know the brutal remarks they make to each other are play acting.

The enemy sure has us fooled. What does God say about him?

Jesus speaking: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

We carelessly slice each other into pieces. These words rob us of life. I am guilty of this myself. It is something The Lord brought to my attention that I am working on.

My childhood home was drenched in negativity and criticism. So I am a bit more sensitive to negative comments than some people.

“You’re so thin-skinned.” Family has told me.

“Yeah, actually, I am. So, if you already know that, why do say hurtful things?

“Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never harm me!”

Oh yeah they will. Harsh words provide a foothold for the enemy. They rob us, they destroy us.

How does that song go? “Killing me softly with his words…”

Hmmm, what was it Jesus’ said of the devil? “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy”

Usually, the ones who dish out the negative words the most, are the ones most offended when similar words are said to them. They can say whatever they please, but anytime they hear something they don’t like or want to hear; they become offended. Some go as far as to cut communication off short or long term, until they deem the correct time to open communication again.

Matthew 15:18 But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and it is those things that make a person unclean. OUCH!

1st Peter 3:9 Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.

Wow! We get a blessing when we don’t repay an insult with another insult or repay evil! There’s one to remember!

Ephesians 4:29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

By ~ Elizabeth Yalian 2013 ©


Filed under Everydayliving, Humor, Inner Sruggles and Heartache, Life Lessons, Marriage and Relationships

10 responses to “They Are Only Words!

  1. This is a much needed truth. “Sitcom humor” destroys many in the name of fun. I don’t appreciate barbs, and it hurts my heart when others are on the receiving end as well.


  2. I so agree. Words have the power to harm or heal, that’s why God’s Word tells us to guard our tongues.

  3. Hi Elizabeth nicely said. You are a generous hearted soul, and I think if I had been thr lady at the cash desk, I would just have smiled and put you at your ease. But our words are important😀

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