Writer’s Name: Angela Duirden-Galbreth
Title: Do you understand the words that are coming out of YOUR mouth?
In the 1988 movie Rush Hour, Detective Carter (Chris Tucker) seeming to mock him, asks Detective Lee (Jackie Chan) a question upon his arrival to America, “Do you understand the words that are coming out of my mouth?”
I tell you times have really changed! Sadly, children today can say just about anything and get away with it. Frankly, I’m appalled at the disrespectful ways and dismissive tone some kids take when speaking to their parents. That certainly wasn’t the case when I was growing up. I was raised during an era when the whole village was responsible for raising a child. If a child was disrespectful, sassed off at the mouth, or said something that was considered out of line, their mother, father, grandmother, uncles, aunts, and any other adult for that matter would rise up. Of course, after smacking the child in their mouth, adults wouldn’t hesitate to strongly advise in that stern, ‘I mean business’ tone, “YOU BETTA WATCH YO’ MOUTH!” Believe me, most of the time that was all it took. Lesson learned!
As times have changed and our values have become more relaxed, it seems that the “watch yo’ mouth” scolding shouldn’t be reserved only for children. In fact, some adults may require the chastisement more so than their children. I know…I know… you’re grown! Yeah, I get it. You own your mouth! And, you may certainly exercise your freedom of speech. But, don’t get it twisted; “watching your mouth” isn’t solely about reframing from “grown folk talk”: the use of profanity, racially charged language, or offensive sexually explicit lingo; that’s true in part, but not the whole deal. “Watching your mouth” means being responsible and conscientious of the words we speak as well as understanding the impact our words have on others. It means being fully aware that the words we speak can literally shape the world we live in.
Words carry a commanding authority. Loaded with energy and passion; words are powerful, extremely influential, and most definitely change situations, circumstances, and people. They can give hope or discouragement, begin anew or bring to a screeching halt a life-long friendship. Wars, fights, gang riots, estrangements and divorces have all been started with mere words. A white, black, green or red lie, an accusation, gossip or the wrong words spoken at the wrong time can sabotage family ties, put sister against sister, brother against brother, breakup homes and completely ruin lives forever. With that said, let me rephrase Tucker’s question, “Do you understand the words that are coming out of YOUR mouth?”
As a culture, we speak so freely and loose until I don’t believe we fully appreciate or grasp the fact that our words have the power to indeed build or destroy. There is no denying the life altering impact of the spoken word. “Death and life are in the power of the tongue” so says the scripture, Prov. 18:21. Simply put, you can murder someone without ever resorting to the violence of a knife, or bullets and a gun, but with the utterance of destructive words. In addition, James warns that the “unruly tongue” is a small member and it boasts a lot of things. It is deadly, evil, full of poison, and no man can tame it except by the power of God (James 3:5-8). The tongue is armed with the ability to slice and dice and completely strip a person of their internal worth. As a child I remember saying in defense, if another child teased me or talked about me, “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.” Nothing could be further from the truth. Words do hurt; sometimes worse than sticks and stones. Scars left from sticks and stones eventually heal and fade away but destructive, humiliating, and painful words can hurt just as much at age 44 as they did at age 4 and often stay with a person for a lifetime.
Today, grown men and women walk around believing that they are worthless, no good, and good for nothing, based on the words spoken over them as children; words that molded their self-esteem, shaped their reality and perception of themselves. And largely, many of the detrimental choices they’ve made in life were based on that perception. That’s why it is so important that we be conscientious of the words we speak and “watch our mouths!”
Think about the words you declare in your life and the life of your loved ones. If your words were your reality, then what would your life be? How often have you, out of anger, foolishly said things like, “These kids are driving me crazy!” “You make me sick!” or “I wish you were dead!” You spoke the words, and loosed them in the atmosphere. What if your words actually did manifest and you went crazy, got sick or somebody died based on your confession? What would your life look like if every word you spoke came to pass? I believe when we haphazardly speak foolish or detrimental things we actually set in motion the process of those things occurring.
Confession brings possession, right. Instead, speak life. Add to your vocabulary words that have to power to build, uplift and encourage. Scrutinize them, judge them, and gage them to see whether they heal and not hinder. Command blessings over your spouse, your children, and your children’s children. Open up your mouth and start calling forth blessings in every aspect of your life. Believe it, speak it, declare it, proclaim it and watch those words come to pass Speak Life!
Self-Improvement and motivational speaker MzDeeVa, author of "Love the Skin You're In" will be in the Killeen area soon.