Your words are truly powerful. You have the ability to speak life or death–negativity– into your life and situation with your voice. This is considered true in pretty much every religious context, but has also been acknowledged in psychology and scientific contexts as well. What we speak out of our mouths matters.
As an aside, those thoughts in the back of our minds need to be confronted and addressed verbally–especially the negative ones. They need to be countered, again verbally, so they can lose their power. I’m currently reading a book that addresses this called, Get Out of Your Head, by Jennie Allen. In the last blog, I wrote about how the enemy of our lives have a specific plan and intention for your unforgiveness. Which of course means we must have a specific plan, too. We are approaching the last part of the series.
You may have already used your mouth to relate the offenses of others. I know I have. I’ve shared the stories of what people have done to me, over and over again. I’ve heard myself repeating these stories over the phone or in person to several people. Because the hurt has remained, I’ve shared these stories as a way to comfort myself and receive much needed validation. In truth though, what I am holding up is a dead–sometimes deeply past– thing (a death thing–something that was intended to destroy me.)
It’s like I invite people to a museum where all the “death” things of my life are hung and on display. Come inside. Look at this, over here–it happened to me as a teenager, and it’s why I can’t trust. Come look at this–this is how someone belittled me on my job, and it’s why I’m insecure or afraid in any work environment. And look! Over here–this is where and how I messed up. How I wasn’t there. How I didn’t show up and how I let that person down. This is why I don’t forgive myself. Why I self-abuse and don’t allow myself to be whole or healthy. Our mouths are often the way that we water unforgiveness and cause it grow.
We ruminate and we recount what people have done to us. Not surprisingly, perhaps, how we nurture unforgiveness is also how we destroy it. What must we do to counter unforgiveness in all its forms, is use our mouths. We open our mouths and speak words of life. As you pray about forgiveness in your life, realize: We must plant seeds of restoration; seeds of life to replace those plants of bitterness. We plant these seeds by what we say and what we imagine/see. This is our counter-attack. Our intentional plan. As we intentionally follow the plan, the museum exhibit changes. What was on display becomes altered. One day, we walk in and we find it looks nothing like how it originally appeared. Parts are missing and less fully-formed. The exhibit has been crowded out with our intention of forgiveness.
Start here. Read this aloud: “Those places of bitterness and negativity within me are replaced with seeds of righteousness, peace, love and hope. I will walk in peace. I will walk in love. I forgive.” In the next blog, I’ll discuss what forgiveness is requires. When unforgiveness is removed, it must be replaced.
What if every time you thought about or shared an instance of hurt, you said this out loud? What if every time you shared what happened to you, or what you did wrong, you also said this? “I will walk in peace. I will walk in love. I forgive.”
*Clarification: It is important to share our personal stories, and we can do it with intention–to enlighten and empower ourselves and others. When we do it without clear intention, the result is often only a renewal of hurt. History matters: our understanding of it is necessary. However, without action and progression it means nothing. We’re just holding up and examining dead things.