Did any of your college professors make a lasting impact on your life? Did any say or do something you still recall today? I had a professor who did a study on the power of words. He assigned the color blue to positive, uplifting words, because in a study it was found to be the most popular, calming color. He assigned the color orange to negative words, because it was found to be the most offensive, stressful color. He said for every orange word spoken, it takes twelve blue words to bring you back to even. He gave an assignment to create a skit or video to demonstrate his point. Interestingly enough, his name was Dr. Purkey. I still remember some of the videos and skits from the class. They impacted me and the way I approach people. While in college, I never realized how Biblical his class was, but scripture supports his point of the power of words.
Proverbs 14:1 says “The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.” Words are the quickest way to build another up or tear another down. Proverbs 18:21a says “The tongue has the power of life and death.” You can immediately impact another’s day simply by what you say to them. If you don’t believe me, test it out. Throughout your day look for opportunities to give out genuine compliments to others. When you deliver them, watch the demeanor of those receiving them. It is especially fun when you come across someone who is having a really bad day and you bless them with a life giving, edifying word. Sometimes you can actually see them stand up a little taller and hold their shoulders back. Why would we ever want to hold back an opportunity to bless another person or build them up?
Likewise, we can say something negative to someone and knock the wind out of their sails. Now I don’t recommend you put this to the test, because there is no reason to go around dishing out hurtful words to others. That’s just mean. You need to trust me; if the former works, the later would also.
So what type of person will you choose to be today? You determine each day and in each situation how you respond. Are you a life giver? Do you put Romans 14:19 into practice: “Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.” The choice is yours. Will you chose wisdom or foolishness with your words?
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