|God said, "Let there be light," and there was light.|
How interesting, that the Savior is likened unto, of all things, a word!
After reviewing what I know to be universal truths about God, the Savior, and the Plan of Salvation, I have come to the following conclusion: Words matter. They have consequence. As Gods in embryo, we are learning how we can use words to create. While we don't take the time to learn the Adamic language like Hindus take the time to learn Sanskrit, I still think God has entrusted us with the power of language so that we can learn how to be like Him and grow closer to Him. We, too, as God's spiritual offspring and potential heirs to his kingdom, can come closer to our Father in Heaven by mimicking his behavior and allowing our words to create good things.
In Elder Jeffrey R. Holland's conference talk, "The Tongue of Angels, an apostle of the Lord says the following: Words are sacred.
You know the phrase, "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me?" Well, Elder Holland begs to differ. He quotes an Apocryphal scripture that says quite the opposite: "“The stroke of the whip maketh marks in the flesh: but the stroke of the tongue breaketh the bones.”
Words not only possess the power to create. They also possess the power to destroy. Words can hurt.
What kinds of words hurt? Well, hurtful ones. Criticism, gossip, murmuring, complaints, and profanity are hurtful. But also manipulative words. Words of deception. Words of judgment. Words born by foul motivations. Even the way we say words can be hurtful. Shouting, whining, sharp sarcasm, etc. We all know it when we see it. But do we avoid it in our daily lives?
|"Negative speaking so often flows from negative thinking."|
-- Elder Jeffrey R. Holland
Our words are a manifestation of what is in our hearts. And as members of the Church, we have promised that we would have pure hearts (as well as clean hands, which I think relates to our actions) (Alma 5:19). Therefore, our words should be as pure as our hearts. Purity is a difficult thing to quantify, but I think it's safe to say that in order for our language to be pure, it needs to be free of profanity, negativity, or unrighteous judgment.
|Some of us, me included, have a very loquacious personality.|
We are very candid. We say what's on our minds...
|Honestly, could any WRONG advice come out of this rabbit's mouth?|
|"Neither do I condemn thee; go, and sin no more."|
Unkind words may seem small, but they can lead to so much more. In the spirit of this same theory that I described in the beginning about how words can create, I believe that by saying something out loud, we are making it real to us. The more we say we believe something, the more inclined our brains are to believe it is true. That's why it's important that we not only have a testimony, but bear it in public. And that's why we are encouraged to pray out loud to our Heavenly Father from time to time. When we transform something as abstract and visceral as a thought into something physical like a spoken word, we are creating a reality in our minds that, with time, becomes part of our core beliefs, which are difficult to shake and result in action and behavior.
So words inspired by negative thoughts can then lead to negative attitudes and, in turn, negative behavior.
|"Hold your tongue, Ella!"|
Imagine what this knowledge of the power of small and simple words can do in our own lives! Not only will we bless the lives of others by using uplifting, positive language, but we will also change our own attitudes about life and about ourselves! How can a person who constantly accosts himself with negative language about himself feel good about himself? He can't! It's one thing to think poorly of oneself, but as I explained, it's even more hurtful to actually say things aloud because then it becomes real to us.
I have a good friend who is very successful and talented. Everything he touches seems to turn to gold. He's got a great job, lots of friends, and he seems to be good at everything! Piano, sports, video games, making friends, public speaking... He's like superman! One time I commented, "Geez, you have been blessed with so many great talents! I wish I was as awesome at all those things as you are, but I could NEVER be THAT good."
His reply was very passionate and from the heart: "Hannah, I think the only thing that separates you and me is the fact that I believe I can do something and you obviously don't. You wouldn't have said that if you did. You need to stop saying 'I can't' and start saying 'I can!'"
|How does what we say about ourselves|
indicate how we see ourselves?
Elder Holland states: "In all of this, I suppose it goes without saying that negative speaking so often flows from negative thinking, including negative thinking about ourselves. We see our own faults, we speak—or at least think—critically of ourselves, and before long that is how we see everyone and everything. No sunshine, no roses, no promise of hope or happiness. Before long we and everybody around us are miserable."
Have you ever been tempted to say "Man, I suck at this"? I do it all the time! But the more I think about this friend's advice, the more I think that I need to change the way I talk about myself, even if it's just in jest. If we really understand who we are, and more importantly, who we can become, I don't think we would even submit ourselves to the kind of language that we so often treat ourselves to. Our words toward ourselves must be just as charitable, loving, and forgiving as they are towards others! Often there are things we say about ourselves that we would NEVER say about other people. I've called myself stupid, ugly, fat, incapable, worthless... Words I would never dream of directing towards someone else! How is it that we allow ourselves to be so negative towards ourselves, even though we claim to have a knowledge of our unlimited potential and divine nature!? It's almost like we think it applies to everyone BUT our own selves. That is a grave contradiction! Christ atoned for EVERYONE, including you, including me! God loves every one of God's children. And on the day of judgment, he won't stand for any unclean thought, word, or deed that has been committed towards any one of his precious sons and daughters of God (Alma 11:37). And furthermore, how can we expect to show love to other people when we don't show love towards ourselves? The words "Love thy neighbor as thyself" (Leviticus 19:18, emphasis added) come to mind here.
|Christ atoned for EVERYONE. Including you, including me!|