I am convinced that words are powerful. A word well timed and well spoken can incite men to bravery, calm an angry mob, even bring nations into existence. Words this powerful live in infamy. Consider, for example, the words, “We hold these truths to be self-evident…” These words, and those that follow, changed the course of history.
I recently read an interesting story that highlighted the power and importance of words. It is a story from the Bible (Genesis 27). Jacob comes deceptively to his blind father in order to obtain a blessing that would otherwise go to Jacob’s brother. The ruse is successful. Upon realizing what happened, Jacob’s brother pleads with his father for another blessing, but it cannot be done. Isaac spoke the words of blessing over Jacob. He indicates that they are irrevocable and that all the blessing he spoke over his son will surely come to pass. He cannot merely speak more words and suppose it will undo what was done.
We live in a time when it seems as though there is an infinite supply of words. We can copy and paste, read books, listen to podcasts, write blogs, publish to millions with the click of a button. When there is an infinite supply of something, it has very little value. Consequently, we are often careless with our words. But if we believe that children are valuable and that words are powerful, then we must take great care in choosing the words we give to our children.
When my son was still in the womb, I spoke to him. When he was born, I spoke his name. Now, he lives in a house that is daily saturated with the words of four other children. I hug him, kiss him and tell him that I love him. Can he comprehend my words? Probably not, but I know that words are powerful.
Even if he doesn’t comprehend the meaning of the sounds, he still knows what “I love you” sounds like. I want him to hear it early and hear it often. I want it to stick in his mind and become a part of him. A year from now, he will comprehend the words and they will already be familiar to him. He will know then that he was loved from day one.
In light of these reflections, I have resolved this week to speak very intentional words of blessing to my son. Just as Isaac’s blessing changed the course of his family, so I hope to change the course of mine with the blessings I speak to my children. A word well-spoken and well-timed can change the fabric of a person and shift their entire self-perception.