We hear this often that “words have power”. Have you ever really listened to the things we say?
Our words have the power to heal, encourage, and surprise us. Our words can also wound, kill, and horrify us. We use words in jest, to express ourselves, share our fears, and end things. We cut ourselves and others down with our words. We undermine our dreams.
We say things in jest like, “ Who do I have to kill for some ice cream?” Then we try to clean it up with “just kidding”, or laugh it off. The one woman often says is, “ I hate my hair, my body, my smile…( fill in the blank). We tell our sons to “Man UP”, indicating they are displaying weakness instead of strength. We tell our daughters to “Be Strong” in a world that is violent and crumbling.
There was a time in my life, in my early 20’s when the N-word was a big part of my vocabulary. I never thought twice about it. I was raised in a black neighborhood and everyone said it. We used it as a greeting, to express frustration with life, to shade someone whom we disagreed with.
I had the honor to marry a wonderful White man. As a newly married woman, I still used the N-word frequently. One day, my husband very graciously asked me ‘why do you use that word’? He went on to help me see the impact this had on him not only as a white man but as a man, as my husband.
My mind was blown! I felt like a cartoon character with fireworks shooting from my ears! When my feet hit the ground again, I told him I would make a real effort to not use that word. I didn’t say I would not use it in his presence. I said I would no longer use that word.
It mattered more to me that he cared to tell me how he felt without criticism or judgment. That is why it was important to me. I felt his heart in what he said. I will not say that I never use the N-word. My husband has since passed on. I slip up. Some days I am cussin’ like a Samuel L. Jackson movie character. Those are the days that prove challenging.
Now, I challenge you my beautiful Sisters to make a determined effort to Listen to the words we say to one another. Let our words encourage, lift up and bring honor to everyone around us, especially our Creator. We impact our destiny and our future by the careless words we say. Come on Sisters! Let’s be better! We are better!