Unlimited - Anything is Possible
Recently I sat in a meeting with some men and the discussion turned to communication between family members. The thought came to me of how words can produce wounds like razor cuts. An individual razor cut is not a life-threatening wound. You probably wouldn’t even notice it for most of the day until you rub your face and notice a sharp stinging response.
I’d had a paper cut a few days before that meeting. I put some Iodine on it and forgot about it until the cut got touched, at which time I became instantly aware how painful it was. Now imagine if you had your fingers covered with paper cuts. You would soon realize how minor cuts can become a tremendous source of discomfort and irritation. To minimize the distress, you would take steps to protect those cuts from being aggravated. You would probably put on bandaids and alter some of your activities to reduce the likelihood of them being rubbed or touched.
As we react to physical cuts, so we react to mental and emotional cuts. We tend to avoid the people who cut us with their words. Or we will reduce or eliminate any level of vulnerability to avoid cutting words. In marriage this can destroy love and intimacy. Spouses will distance themselves from each other and quit sharing with any depth. Conversation will revolve around shallow issues and the relationship will become less and less satisfying. Likewise friendships, once strong and long-lived, will be no more as the joy has disappeared from too many cuts.
We have all heard and maybe even used ourselves the well-known refrain: “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” As we grow older, we realize those words are a lie. Most physical wounds are long ago healed and forgotten, but words spoken in cruel jest, ignorance or deliberate malice remain alive and well in our minds and hearts. The old axiom that time heals all wounds is also a lie. Unless we purposely address a wound from a hurtful word, it will not heal. Unaddressed, fifty years could go by and we will feel the pain of those words as though they happened yesterday.
Gracious communication seasoned with salt is an absolute necessity to maintain harmonious relationships. No one likes to be around someone who makes them feel like they are the butt of jokes and put-downs. Or in the presence of someone who is hypersensitive and quick to give sharp responses. We all like to be with people who make us feel good to be with them. That includes ensuring the content of our conversation is uplifting, not a continual litany of negatives about people and things.
Parents need to be especially sensitive about how they communicate with their children. Seemingly harmless off handed remarks to a child can mark them forever. Children look to their parents as the chief source of their value. One major way parents express value is when they speak affirming words. Parents can be careless in their words and allow their frustrations to spark harsh outbursts with their children. Even so-called mild put downs repeatedly spoken can have the effect of numerous razor cuts or paper cuts. Each one seems of no consequence, yet the cumulative effect is destructive. When the children are grown, the parents wonder why they seldom hear from their kids. They wonder why their children have little interest in visiting and interacting even after they have had children of their own.
If you recognize yourself as someone who has hurt others with your words, it is necessary for you to go to those people, acknowledge your wrong and ask for their forgiveness. They may pass it off as no big deal. People are often unaware to what extent your words have impacted them or do not want to admit it hurt. If this is the case, ask them to do you the favor to forgive you anyway so you can feel better about it. Expect them to experience healing and a strengthening of the relationship.
Make a point of minding how you communicate to others. If your normal content is not kind, respectful and encouraging then ask yourself why not? It may well be that you have been on the receiving end of many cuts from words which have never healed. When others have wounded us, we tend to wound others.
First step identify those people in your life who hurt you with their words. Don’t be prone to dismiss it as no big deal. Words that made you feel pain have hurt you. When you receive enough minor cuts, it can make a serious difference to your well-being. It also diminishes relationships. An important clue is when you think of a specific person and the first thing you remember is something negative they said to you whether yesterday or 20 years ago. Don’t let it fester. Your relationship will suffer for it.
Next step you need to forgive that person for those specific words or for the history of repeatedly being wounded by their words. This is paramount, for without forgiveness you will not be free. It isn’t about them. It is about you. Unresolved wounds result in resentments and bitterness which can produce physical illness as well as rob you of joy and keep you from fully enjoying key relationships. Depending on the depth of the wound and the importance of the offending person, you may need to repeat this step and the one below numerous times until you totally feel free.
Now you can speak words over yourself that will break the power of those hurtful words. Say this: “I break the power of those (describe the specific words or a description of the destructive communication) spoken against me by (name the person).”
Then say this: “I speak healing in my mind, heart, soul, spirit and body from these words whose power I have now broken.”
After you have done these steps, you should notice a substantial change in how you feel when you think about that person and recall their words. If you have completely resolved it then the negative emotion will no longer be present.
The book of Proverbs states: “Our words have the power of life and death.” People have died from getting a severe infection from a seemingly harmless paper cut.
12/2/2022 11:37:51 am
Hi thankks for posting this
3/16/2023 07:48:18 pm
This helps me to understand my teenage son better... He has received razor cuts and now speaks to others in a sharp way. Forgiveness is key, Thanks for the insight, Glen.
3/21/2023 09:40:09 am
I am so glad you found this blog topic useful. My hope for you is that you will experience a positive turnaround with your son.
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