The power of the spoken word is attested throughout the scriptures. It is the word that caused this very world to come into existence. God said, “Let there be…” and all sorts of things were accomplished. Light was created, the air we breath formed when the waters were separated. Dry ground appeared as the waters were gathered. Vegetation and all sorts of animals came into being simply because God said, “Let there be.” The first words which address emotion in the bible, “I was afraid (Gen. 3:10). Fear is a powerful emotion. It can move people to do great things when courage is stirred up. It can paralyze a man making him incapable of doing what needed done (see the 3rd servant in the Parable of the Talents) and it can move people to do the wrong thing as was the case with Adam. He hid himself rather than approaching God seeking forgiveness. I have often wondered if Adam had sad three different words in the garden that day. “I am sorry” may have changed the very course of our world. Alas, we were left with “I am afraid.” But, these aren’t the words that carry great power in the English language.
I Love You. It is amazing the power that is found in these words. In Meatloaf’s classic song, “Paradise by the Dashboard Light” expresses the great power of these words. The female lead of the song refused to give into the male leads’ advances until he proclaimed his love to her. She needed to hear those powerful words. While I don’t agree with their decision and that fornication is sin, it shows how the words “I love you can change a no into a yes.” While at the marriage retreat this past weekend we were encouraged to think about the first time we told our spouses we loved them. It was meant to invoke found memories of each other. And in turn, remind ourselves we still love our spouses and would do whatever it takes to continue to show that love.
I love you is mighty powerful. It is the words that cause us to memorize John 3:16. “God so loved.” He loved us. That is why Jesus died for us. It was not a sense of duty. It was not a sense of obligation. It was not because he had to. He loved us. As such, he wanted to. Love moves us to do that type of thing. In return, when we feel that kind of love, we feel great encouragement. It lifts our spirits to know that someone emphatically cares for us. This was the second exercise of our “Love memory” session. How did knowing you are loved like that make you feel?
Now, in a church relationship, the words, “I love you” are still powerful. While they may not evoke the same response as your spouse, they still make us feel like a part of a family. A sense of belonging is something this world is desperately looking for in a church family. Finding brethren that unconditionally love each other goes a long way. (Something I was reminded of as I visited Rantoul this past week).
Did You Hear. Just as quickly as you build a relationship up, you can destroy it by talking about someone. Gossip destroys relationships almost as quickly as infidelity. In fact, according to one session leader at our marriage retreat,. Infidelity could be defined as saying negative, uncomplimentary, destructive words either to or about your spouse. I thought this was a rather interesting point. A spouse’s trust is destroyed much in the same way as adultery. Trust is destroyed. And when trust is destroyed it is extremely difficult to rebuild, if not impossible. For every married couple I could name that survived an act of adultery, I could name 10 that didn’t. The faithful spouse could not move beyond that violation. I know of couples that experience similar issues when it is learned that one spouse is making disparaging remarks about the other to parents, co-workers, etc.
In a church, this is just as devastating. I remember one brother in Christ telling me years ago he could never follow through with the command to confess your sins one to another because that sin would end up being broadcast all over town. The church handcuffs when it cannot help each other deal with sin because trust has been violated. God forbid we ever start a conversation with “Did you hear?”
Grinnell church of Christ
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The Three Most Powerful and Dangerous Words
in the English Language
Volume 7 Issue 36