Words have a dramatic effect on what we know, how we interact with people and the decisions we ultimately make.
Words can influence us, inspire us or just as easily bring us to tears.
Think for a moment how words have shaped and changed your life: Marry me! It’s a girl! He has cancer! We are losing him! You’ve got the job! Congratulations. Guilty! False. Vote here! Change is here!
Words have huge impact in the social media context. Many people seem to find their social meaning and identity from platforms such as Facebook and Instagram and the power of a misplaced word or photo could cost one a relationship or reputation. Yet people seem to flood the airwaves with all their personal information minute by minute for all and sundry to see. I wonder how many consider the consequences of pushing the enter or share button.
On the other hand the extremely positive impact that these same social media have had is equally to be mooted. Some of the most profound thinkers of our age take time to construct excellently thought through topics on Christian themes for our consideration and blog them weekly for our spiritual progress and development. Some of my favorites are Graham Cooke, Kris Vallotton and Rick Joyner — they tackle sensitive topics with ease and brilliance and yet leave the reader enough room for personal growth and a desire to search out the scriptures for oneself.
Looking at media of a different kind – are our national newspapers. It’s critical that our journalists and reporters be given freedom of expression. It’s our constitutional right. It’s what we fought for. With this freedom of expression comes great responsibility for good reporting. A free press reporting on the issues that shape our lives is a key building block of any society. We can create a society of suspicion and blame or one where we build together with our beautiful diversity being the bedrock that binds us together.
To be a journalist today in our fast moving multi-media, embracing much and highly variable morality is no mean feat – it’s weighty and powerful and as the saying goes ‘the pen is mightier than the sword’ is often seen to be true.
When Paul the Apostle said to the Philippians (4.8): “… whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy – meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you” I wondered what it would be like having him as a lecturer for the final year students.
With your words you have the power to bring someone up from the slums of life or to reduce a person down to the slums. Words said in the right way can change a person’s mind or belief system, or their happiness. It seems all too good to be true. A simple choice of words can make the world of difference in a person’s life.
Recently on a mission trip I watched this first hand. We had taken a team with us to Mamelodi. One of our team members called out a little girl who was brought to the front of the church with her mom. She was given a prophetic word that entailed great hope for the future and referred to the fact that she had such a graceful spirit about her. It turned out that her name was Grace.
Faith and hope restored
Her mother’s faith and hope for the future was restored too and she confirmed that her daughter always showed so much grace in all situations. What surprised the mom was that the Lord knew about their difficult situation and the tears they had shed, yet He sent people who did not know them to call them out with words of encouragement and hope for a future.
Her whole demeanor changed and she recommitted her life to the Lord. A word aptly spoken is truly like apples of gold in settings of silver. Oh so priceless.
On this same trip I chatted to Robin Harvey as to how he receives Words of Knowledge (these are gifts of the Holy Spirit as referred to in 1 Corinthians 14). Robin said that before a meeting he spends time talking to the Lord asking Him what He wants to say to the people. He often gets impressions, names and pictures for different people which he jots down and then chats to the Lord about them. They are always with a positive intention. Then when he gets to the meeting he waits for the right opportunity to share the name, the picture or impression he has received. As he does this the Lord usually adds the prophetic word and or the healing that goes with the Word of Knowledge
Words of Knowledge
When I looked at Shawn Bolz’s reference on Words of knowledge: “ The information is not solely discerned, but includes specific facts that will help bring someone’s heart closer to the mind of God. Words of knowledge help people feel known by God so they will believe more deeply in the truth. A word of knowledge usually comes right before a prophecy, healing, or miracle in order to bring faith for its release.” (Translating God)
With this in mind we can be so challenged to want to flow in the area of Words of knowledge. I’m reminded of Cindy Jacobs and her husband who record a show on which they give accurate words of knowledge after a short teaching or interview. The feedback they get is excellent and people from around the world have had their lives changed and challenged through this ministry.
Most of us grew up with the rhyme: “Sticks and stones can hurt my bones, but words can never hurt me.” Yet, we at times find that to be completely untrue and that words can really hurt. Words, my friends, change everything!
So my encouragement is to watch what you say on your media platforms, but do not be afraid to use media platforms available to you to encourage people as the Lord leads you. Words can mend a broken soul.
Be ready to give an account for your beliefs. Be well-read, be ready to cover your brother’s nakedness. There is so much opportunity to be a powerful spokesperson. But be wise, be skilful, but above all be led by the Lord. Be inspired to see the world around you through the eyes of the Lord.