Words Matter

"Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me." ~ Children's playground chant.

On the news  there was a brief announcement on the crack down of the journalists in Turkey.  After the coup on July 15th, they have been shutting down at least 45 newspapers and 16 TV stations. 

Makes me think of something Madeleine L'Engle wrote.  On her passport she had writer listed as her occupation. One time she had the opportunity to travel to the Soviet Union and was denied access due to her profession.  At that time, anyone who could possibly intellectually challenge the citizens of the state by having them independently think was a threat to the society. 

For all our worry about physical threats, it is our words that  should be our concern.  It is a false statement that names will never hurt us.  They do. What we say, when we say it and how we say it are vital.  It can make the difference between encouragement or discouragement, an opportunity or a challenge, or even life or death. 

Freedom of speech should never be taken for granted and should always be protected.  Books, newspapers, and articles should never be censored even if we don't like what is found in them.

But if we are the author of the words we should take care.  What we say does matter.  Our freedom of speech means we have a responsibility not to unduly provoke or hurt others. We should use our words to encourage and uplift one another.  To help expand one's thought processes and horizons. To be a blessing with our words, not a curse. 

Ah, if only our politicians felt that way.  

What about you?  Have you ever been hurt by someone's words?  Have you ever hurt someone with your words?  How can you take care in your speech?  Wait some time before responding to an email or phone call? Have words ever provoked you to action? What were some life-changing words that you might have read or heard? 

Words matter.  Thanks goodness they do.