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The devastating power of words

Recently, Tom Clark, podcaster and writer, shared an interesting story on Charisma News of something that happened to him at the 50th class reunion of his former high school.

He was approached by a 69-year-old man, who he had not seen for 50 years. Until the man introduced himself, Tom didn’t even recognize his former teammate from the high school football team.

Then the man made a strange request and asked Tom for forgiveness.

Since he hadn’t seen the man for over five decades, Tom had no idea what he was talking about, but said he would readily forgive, but wanted to know what he needed to forgive this man for.

The man said, ‘forgive me for dropping that touchdown pass.’

At that moment, Tom remembered the incident and words he had spoken to the young man after he had dropped a touchdown pass during a high school football game:

Can’t you catch? You’re ruining my passing percentage!”

The man had never forgotten those impactful words, and a half a century later they were still plaguing him.

It tells us that there is power in the words we speak and in the words that have been spoken over us.

The writer of proverbs writes that our words have the power to bring life or death (Proverbs 18:21).

I still remember the hurtful words I spoke over a fellow Bible school student nearly 50 years ago. I did it intentionally, and to this day still can’t forget the haunting look on his face after I spoke them. From time to time, I have found myself praying for him.

Because whether they are done intentionally or in the frustration of the moment as they were in the case of Tom, words can have an impact.

If you have been devastated by words that others have spoken over you, even by your parents, then you need to deal with this by first forgiving them for what they said. In other words, like the rest of us, you may have done a stupid thing, but that does not make you stupid.

Then we need to claim our authority in Christ and renounce these words that can have a curse-like effect on us.

According to the Old Testament law, the bodies of people who committed particularly heinous crimes worthy of execution, first degree murder, were to be hung on trees because they were accursed (Deuteronomy 21:22-23).

The Apostle Paul writes because Jesus was similarly executed on a tree, a cross, the Lord has broken all these curses (Galatians 3:9-13).

By His death, Christ became accursed for us. The Lord has taken these words spoken over you and put them on Himself.

And because of this, we now have the authority to renounce them.

READ: Walking Into the World of the Words We Speak

Addendum: Though many believe that the Bible’s death penalty was in play for multiple crimes, in fact it was only applicable for first degree murder, as I explain in the podcast below:

Why an eye for an eye means you love your neighbour.

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