the power of WORDS!
There is a powerful new PSA about the harassment women in the sports industry can face via twitter and other social media. I am a fan of female sportswriter Sarah Spain, she frequents one of my favorite sports radio shows, The Dan Lebatard Show. I have found her insight, personality, and perspective to be very interesting and helpful.
It is clear that not all men enjoy women meddling in their sports coverage, and some even take it to the extent of sending explicit social media messages. The PSA had average men come in and read mean tweets to the women they were sent to. There is something about being in the presence of someone and having to regurgitate hate. The men are visibly uncomfortable reading the tweets. Then they say things like, “I don’t think I can even say that” or “I have to read all of them?” Many of them said, “I’m sorry” after they read the tweets.
Often when we type a message we are not in the presence of the person that will be receiving the message. It might be easy for us to forget they are a real person with a real story and real emotions. Yet, these tweets go even further than that. They are so incredibly personal and explicit. How have we arrived at a place where words like this are thrown around without care.
The Bible has a lot to say about the power of words. Proverbs says, “The words of the wicked kill; the speech of the upright saves.” (Prov. 12:6, MSG) There is a power that exists within words, they can bring about death or life. We are the ones who chose what our words will create.
Jesus spoke about our words when he said, “Every one of these careless words is going to come back to haunt you. There will be a time of Reckoning. Words are powerful; take them seriously. Words can be your salvation. Words can also be your damnation.” (Matt. 12:36-37, MSG) In this passage Jesus simply expounds on the Proverb. Life and death exist on the tip of our tongue. We are far more powerful than we realize. And there is something about sitting across from someone that makes the weight of words heavier, in those moments we become aware of the weight of words. There is something about looking into the face of someone who has been verbally assaulted by tweets that makes you want to speak life, something like, “I’m sorry.”
And maybe this is where we start. Maybe we need to consider that person we spoke darkness over and simply say we are sorry. And maybe we need to make a choice to speak (and type) life in every area we venture (including sports). If following Jesus means we spread good news and bring about the life giving Kingdom of God in the here and now, then we are compelled to speak with kindness and love; and when we fail the only way forward is to begin the work of rebuilding what our words have destroyed.
May you come to know that God desires you to speak life into all creation.
May you find that your tongue is like a rudder that steers the whole ship.
May you use your tongue to steer yourself and others toward life.
(Photo Cred: Emma Holmes Art)