Incite, Inspire … Words have Power

Yesterday, I wrote about being a battle hardened warrior. And in light of the events surrounding the Washington chaos (1/6/20), I wonder if I would reword any of the article.

Words have power. Some great words of wisdom once were written to show how serious words are … Death and Life are in the power of the tongue. Wow! Forget the old ‘stick and stones’ saying. Words do hurt.

Words can delight, take us to great heights in emotion, feelings, and motivation. Are words can take us to the lowest depths of despair, agony, defeat. Controlling the tongue is so important. It starts fires. Yesterday’s events gave way to a short statement by our President Elect …

words of a President matter, no matter how good or bad that president is. At their best, the words of a president can inspire. At their worst, they can incite.

Joe Biden, President Elect

And in these few words, he gave the gist of what he felt was the cause of the violence in the capital (and I would say many think across the nation.) As much as I understand where Biden is coming from, and I also agree President Trump isn’t known for words that pacify, I think Biden also was amiss in his words as well.

First … it’s not only presidential words that impact people. Every person is responsible for their words. Media has not helped. Social media has been a platform for vitriol. Name calling, words of dismissal and rejection, swiping entire swaths of society as racists, uneducated and so on. Both sides of this issue have mud on their hands. Words of everyone have power. Yes, presidential words have a bigger platform and audience – so President Biden, I pray you (and everyone) takes every word spoken serious.

Second … words change meaning and sometimes outright clarity needs to be emphasized. You may say a word that means one thing to you but quite another thing to the person who hears it. This is clearly seen in literature. In English, the word ‘conversation’ in an older translations does not refer to talk or communication. It refers to your way of life, your conduct and behavior.

To inspire means to breath into, to motivate … and this is normally seen as positive. But yet one can also be inspired to evil, to mischief.

To incite means to move to action, to urge forward … and this is normally seen as negative. But yet, the word can be used to indicate what urged you to action.

Where inspire is more motivational, incite is more action based. Both can be positive or negative. The point is, we need to make sure we are communicating clearly and understand that what we are saying is often interpreted differently then what we intended.

I can’t believe President Trump wanted violence, wanted madness. He may have wanted passion and energy, he may have wanted his message to be taken serious, but I also don’t think he considered how his words would be taken.

But yet, neither do we every time we open our mouth, or type our words.

Third … may we take our words serious. This is mainly for an audience of One …

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart

be acceptable in your sight,

O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.

Psalm 19.14

Watch your words people. People are listening and your words have power.

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