The Power of Words

For most of my life, I’ve been an extremely sensitive person. I also had a terribly awkward last name growing up, so it was easy to make fun of the goofy girl with big teeth and big eyes and a funny last name.

I spent a lot of my elementary school days crying alone in my room, brooding on whatever harsh words were spoken to me by my classmates.

In high school, I grew out of the big teeth (I actually quite like my teeth now), and found myself in academics and sports. I was in the National Honor Society, was identified by the Duke University talented program in the seventh grade, aced my honors classes, and excelled at basketball. Our family settled into Abilene for a few years while I was in high school and I made good friends that I still adore today. I didn’t get made fun of much then, or as I blossomed into an adult and into a couple of different careers.

My mom always prayed that I would have a sensitive heart, and now as I share it in a world where thousands can read and voice their own opinion, my skin has become soft again.

Words move me in dramatic ways – both positive, and negative.

The prayers and words of kindness from strangers elate me, and show me the voice of God through humanity. In more recent weeks, the critics have shown up on several posts, voicing their opinions as well.

I am fully supportive of everyone having the right to their own thought, and the right to voicing their own thought. I don’t ever expect everyone to agree with everything I say or do, and that’s completely fine. I’ll never delete a comment that shares a different point of view, even if it’s said in an argumentative tone.

However, I do ask you this. If you read my blog, or any others, or hear a story or meet a person and something inside you compels you to share your opinion, please consider the words you use to communicate.

It is of utmost importance that even if we take a opposing stance on an issue, we shouldn’t debate the other person’s heart, integrity, or motivation.

We are not, and can not be, the judge of that.

The power our words have can be extremely positive and uplifting, and can even push someone to grow if we communicate a different opinion in a positive manner.

Our words can also be like poison, and shrink and twist the heart and life and faith of the person with whom we disagree.

Yes, I’m a very sensitive person and there are steps on my journey that I need to take to toughen my skin and not take harsh statements so personally and deeply.

I also know I’m not the only person in the world that feels the power of words deeply.

Speak gently.

Speak carefully.

Speak thoughtfully.

Speak graciously.

Speak humbly.

We can do these things, and still disagree with someone.

In fact, I think that may be the only way we can properly disagree with someone.

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by Anne Jackson
Anne Jackson is an author, speaker, and activist who lives in the Nashville area with her husband, Chris. Her book, Mad Church Disease – Overcoming the Burnout Epidemic (Zondervan) released in February 2009. Her next book, Permission to Speak Freely: Essays and Art on Fear, Confession and Grace (Thomas Nelson) will be released in August 2010.
This article was adapted from a blog post by Anne Jackson at
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