When words are not enough…
Over the years I have heard it said that our words have power. That we should be careful with the words we speak. It’s been said that negative words can produce negative circumstances as much as positive words create positive results. Motivational books are filled with this topic! Often in church you will hear preachers speaking about the power of our words. In the bible it says: Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit (Proverbs 18:21).
Words do carry influence. If you hang around someone who speaks negatively for long enough you may find yourself speaking negatively and vice versa with positivity. Words can fall from our lips loosely until we catch ourselves and become aware of the words we speak. Words have the power to hurt someone deeply. Words also have the power to bring a smile to a person’s face. Words can be calming, encouraging and inspiring. Each human being is in charge of their words and how they choose to use them.
Words are powerful…
Then there are times when words are not enough. In those times the words only have power when action follows. There is nothing more frustrating than listening to someone say all the right words and yet contradict every sentence by choosing to act the opposite. Someone may tell you for years that they will change yet eventually you realise that nothing much has changed at all. Perhaps it is easier to use words as filler with an attempt to patch the gaps. Just like those areas in the bathroom that eventually erode and the only way to repair it is to either replace it or fill in the gaps. The right words can stall time yet eventually if the actions don’t change then the true meaning of those words become very noticeable.
Relationships can only survive for so long with temporary fixes. Eventually the time will come when a drastic renovation is needed in order to save what might be left. Renovations can cost a lot of time and money. Sometimes renovations can’t even fix the problem. It may need bulldozing as the damage has gone down deep to the foundations.
Have you heard the saying?
They can talk the talk but can’t walk the walk.
Words of forgiveness lose their power when there is no change in behaviour. A person that chooses to change their hurtful behaviour will find better results as opposed to using only the words ‘will you forgive me’. While it is nice to hear ‘will you forgive me’, those words only really mean something when the person saying them decides to follow them through with what they do. Forgiveness and action go hand in hand.
When someone breaks your trust no amount of words are going to fix it. Only the right type of action over a period of time is going to have a chance of healing any damage.
When someone says ‘I love you’, the truth of those words is seen in what they do. People are only fooled for so long with mere words. I’m reminded of the saying: don’t judge a book by its cover. The true heart of a person is always seen in their actions.
While words have the power to heal or destroy, actions carry the same responsibility. Action often requires more from us than words. Perhaps we are not always willing to follow through. Whatever our actions are, you can be sure they always send a message or tell a story.
Words combined with contradictory actions create all sorts of problems in relationships. Whether it be in business, marriage, family or friendship. Most people appreciate when the right action follows words. This allows trust to grow strengthening relationships.
Following through with words can put you in a favourable position at work. Employers will always seek you out when they know you can be counted on. Reliable and trustworthy people always rise above those that rely solely on their many words.
Relationships strengthen and grow closer when each partner knows that they can count on each other to follow through. In the same way relationships fall apart when one partner loses trust. Words with the wrong actions send mixed messages. It destroys the foundations that are necessary for maintaining a healthy relationship.
As parents it’s always good to remember that kids watch what we do not what we say. Kids learn how to do life by watching their parents. Your actions are their teacher from a very young age.
So much of life rests on what we do not on what we say. Just as the bible verse at the beginning of this blog describes our words as producing fruit, actions are the same.
I suppose it comes down to how much do we really mean what we say?
Are we just saying words in the spur of the moment, or buying time. Perhaps we forget that others remember what we say.
What do we want our relationships to look like? Do we want relationships that are solid?
It’s impossible to have a true relationship with someone who may find the right words to say yet behave in such a way that shows you the emptiness of their words.
Sometimes words are not enough we need to put action to them. How great is it when someone keeps their word! The best types of relationships are the ones you don’t need to keep second guessing. Don’t get lost in someone’s words ignoring their actions. If the actions are hurtful and unhealthy it might be time to rethink the situation. There comes a time when you need to consider hurtful and unhealthy actions. You can only ignore it for so long as eventually it will affect the quality of your life.
Don’t enable people to keep hurting you, set boundaries. You are of no use to anyone if you keep getting injured. You have every right to take care of yourself.
Words + no action = empty
Words + hurtful action = damage
Words + the right action = VALUE + RESPECT + TRUST = HEALTHY