An Encouraging Word...
Blessings & Curses
If you’re like me, you’ve said some pretty awful things in your life. Terrible, unspeakable things that you’d never want repeated in public. We can call these words ‘curses’, even if they weren’t the four-letter variety our culture recognizes as vulgar. And we’d probably like to think that these things can be forgotten or retracted – erased from the record of reality.
Unfortunately, that’s not the way words seem to work. Words have a power, a life of their own, and once they leave our mouths, they become a cloud that hang over us and the people we spoke them to. If you don’t believe me, consider the harshest thing someone has said to you. I bet you can not only recall ‘curses’ that loved ones have said, but even those uttered by complete strangers. I can. Words have power. There are people whose lives have been derailed by things their parents, spouses or children said to them.
Why are our words so powerful? I think this is because we are made in the image God. We know from scripture that God’s word is the creative force that brings the universe into existence. In a parallel way, as image bearers of the Lord of Creation, our words and communication possess power as well.
The bright side of this phenomenon is that ‘blessings’ – words of healing, meant to prosper those we speak them to – have an even greater potential to build up and strengthen than curses do to destroy. The most impactful blessings happen when we bless people according to what God has already done on their behalf.
For example, when we tell people who believe in Christ who they are in Christ, this can reinforce the redemptive work that God is already doing in their lives! Look at the way Paul speaks to the Christians he writes to. He calls them “holy people”, “new creation”, “children of God” and “saints”. Now some of these people were no doubt falling short of living up to those terms, but Paul said it anyway, because it was true in Jesus Christ.
So this week, in our world that is overflowing with words, but short on blessings, speak encouragement into the lives of those around you. Bless your friends and families. Remind them that they are inhabited by the Spirit, adopted by the Father, and new creations in Christ. And you can even remember to include these blessings in the greetings you send on that commercially driven holiday looming next Monday.