The Scripture ~ Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. Psalm 119:105
The Spiritual Focus ~ “Be sure to taste your words before you spit them out.” Anonymous
The Breath Prayer ~ Heal with Words
The Devotion ~
Many of us grew up with the saying, “ sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never hurt me.” The history of that saying goes back to an 1862 article in the Christian Recorder, a periodical of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, as a response to bullying. The complete saying however included the following, “true courage consists in doing what is right, despite the jeers and sneers of our companions.” While this saying served as a peaceful response at the time, without the complete sentence, the phrase set the stage for harmful speech to become acceptable. Words can hurt, once spoken are hard to retrieve. While one may be able to forgive hurtful words, it is less easy to forget what was said. Words are our primary form of communication and when they are not spoken mindfully and truthfully, can live on to hurt future generations.
Words can also heal. When we pause and are mindful of our speech, our words can heal, bring peace and build relationships. Healing words are powerful when inspired by the Spirit and embodied in the path we choose to live, a path defined in the life and language of Jesus.
There are many strategies to help us slow down and become more mindful of what we say. The “THINK” acronym is one way of being mindful with what we say. Before we speak, we pause to consider, is it true, is helpful, is it inspiring, is it necessary, is it kind.
Admittedly, pausing to THINK and breathe can give us time to choose our words carefully. When we are mindful, we are practicing a form of yoga called Raja yoga. Raja yoga calls us to be disciplined in our actions for the sake of living in peace and harmony, the 10 commandments were given with the same intent. Raja yoga is yoga of right living that is intended to be lived off the mat into the world. Our Christian faith invites us to dwell in the word, to choose our words carefully so that the light of Christ guides us on the path to right living in community, in the world.