What's The Word?

There is power in words. Every word has a story. So words must be "tasted" before they leave our mouths. This is part of the mission of this company, to empower, educate, engage, and edify with words.

Traci Demus-Gamble

10/16/20234 min read

person writing on white paper
person writing on white paper

As kids responding to being picked on, we often said, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” It sounded good at the time and temporarily felt good because the teasing stopped. Right? At this point, it could go either way. The teaser would either stop or escalate the taunting.

I never really thought about the backstory of the phrase. Perhaps the person who coined this phrase was hurt. Hear me out. I imagine that these words were spoken to stop someone from hurting them and used as a defense mechanism, a psychological response to protect feelings of anxiety or threats, in my opinion. It is a lie. Words, the tongue, may not break bones, but they do break hearts and sometimes spirits. Proverbs 18:21 declares, "Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit." How we choose to use our words matters. Words can hurt…hard. Or they can heal.

He said what He said!

When God gave me the name A Way With Words Media for my company, I thought, “That’s clever.” You know, author, writer, English teacher, words. It made sense. I also enjoy crossword puzzles, like Mama. I feel accomplished completing the challenging ones, like in the New York Times. So, I thought the name was befitting.

God has since then shown me that “clever” is only surface level. There is a much deeper meaning in the company name. I remember my Mama saying, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say anything!” It sums up Ephesians 4:29, “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment so that it will give grace to those who hear.“ My interpretation is the way we choose to use our words and even receive the words of others makes a difference. We should edify one another. Words have the power to make war or to make peace, to build up or tear down, to blame or to reconcile, to hate or to love.

Effective communication is paying attention to the listener who may or may not verbally respond. However, it’s written all over their face or can be seen in their body language, even in silence. Some people speak up, while others may shut down. Active listening improves mutual understanding between the parties involved.

This was very important to me in my time of bereavement. Encouraging words and prayers helped me along my journey. Even though some could not necessarily understand my pain and grief, their kind words motivated me to keep going. I must admit that there were times when I didn't want to. I felt like giving up and giving in, but knowing that my loved ones were speaking life over my life helped in ways that I cannot explain. On the other hand, there were times that I was offended, by the words and not the intention. I understood the hearts of the people who expressed them. I knew they meant no harm, only to encourage and love me. Words can be a lifeline.

Say It With Your Chest!

The way we choose to communicate or express our words or thoughts includes tone of voice, facial expressions, motivation, emotions, verbal and/or nonverbal, sign language, body language, chat, text, art, social media, gestures, slang, idioms, cliches, images, intention, spirit, use of hands, etc. In other words, communication is more than just words. As a result, it can be easy to miscommunicate, misunderstand, or misinterpret a message. Sometimes, words get lost in translation. As a person who has often felt misunderstood, I value directness, sincerity, and honesty. How we say what we say matters. Mean what you say. Just don’t be mean about how you say it.

Choice Words

Understanding the power of words and the many ways to express them is necessary for effective communication. It is good to use words or language in a manner that the listener will understand and receive. While there is no guarantee that the listener will, speaking in love increases the possibilities. At this point, the speaker could ask the listener to explain what they did not understand. The speaker becomes the receiver who is listening for understanding. Good options now are to rephrase, clarify, or choose different words. Both parties walk away on the same page, a better, or at least will agree to disagree.

Don’t get me wrong. Not all conversations are cut and dry. Some involve humor, sadness, anger, or other emotions that may interrupt the flow of the conversation. These reasons are why it is important to choose the right words and ways of expression. Communication is key. Words matter.

Compassion Continued…

Through A Way With Words Media, my vision is to illustrate through my story, books, and various media platforms how words and the Word of God helped me along my unique journey of healing. Even the words I say to myself have power. Because I often felt misunderstood, I now choose to speak life because words make a difference in my life and those around me. I choose to show compassion to others, just as Jesus shows compassion towards me. It is a personal choice.

I sincerely hope we find a way with words that will encourage, educate, enlighten, empower, and engage one another and exalt and edify God.

Try this.

Let’s put compassionate words into action. Think of three things about yourself that you want to change or improve. In your journals, write three words that counteract that thing or an affirmation.

For example, (think) I overthink, often about things that I cannot control. (write) I let go of things that I cannot control. Then pray (Serenity Prayer).

Let me know if this helps you in any way.

Works Cited

New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update. The Lockman Foundation, 1995, p. Eph 4:29.

New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update. The Lockman Foundation, 1995, p. Pr 18:21.

What are your thoughts?