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Power of Words: Learning from “Like a Girl”

Power of words

The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences.

~ Proverbs 18:21

Until I saw this video, I was absolutely clueless to the harm that using the phrase “like a girl” can have on a young woman or child. And after watching it, I was floored by the realization that this phrase is absolutely:

  • Wrong (it doesn't even make sense)
  • Negative (it assumes girls can't do things well)
  • Derogatory (it's a back-handed comment)
  • Demeaning (it puts girls down)
  • Belittling (it disempowers women)
  • Offensive (and rightfully so!)

It's the polar opposite of Abundant Life giving. In fact, it's Abundant Life destroying!

Power of Words

Do you know what the Bible says about the power of words?

Let me tell you, It says A LOT! Words absolutely have the power to give life or to take it away. They can empower or debilitate someone. And even more importantly, the effects can last a lifetime!

No wonder we're told that we will be judged for every word that comes out of our mouths!

I stumbled upon this list from Open Bible.Info that outlines 100 verses, which tell us pretty clearly what the Bible says about the power of words. Here are just a few. When you read them:

  1. Ask God to open up your mind/heart to see how certain phrases or words that you use are hurting others.
  2. Ask God to open up your mind/heart to see how certain phrases or words that you use are helping others
  3. Ask God to open up your mind/heart to see how certain phrases or words that you use are empowering.
  4. Ask God to open up your mind/heart to see how certain phrases or words that you use are disempowering.
  5. Ask God to open up your mind/heart to see how certain phrases or words that you use give Abundant Life.
  6. Ask God to open up your mind/heart to see how certain phrases or words that you use lead to death.

James 3:6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell.

James 3:8 But no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.

Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

Proverbs 12:25 Anxiety in a man's heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad.

John 6:63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.

Proverbs 15:23 To make an apt answer is a joy to a man, and a word in season, how good it is!

Proverbs 25:25 Like cold water to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country.

When did being called “like a girl” become an insult?I don't know the answer to this questions, but let me submit to you that the phrase “like a girl” stemmed from someone's insecurity (presumably a man's). People who battle self-esteem issues oftentimes criticize and try to put others down to make them feel better. Unfortunately, this is never the case. What ends up happening is that both people (the victim of these harmful words, and the one delivering them) get disempowered and damaged.

I don't know the answer to this questions, but let me submit to you that the phrase “like a girl” stemmed from someone's insecurity (presumably a man's). People who battle self-esteem issues oftentimes criticize and try to put others down to make them feel better. Unfortunately, this is never the case. What ends up happening is that both people (the victim of these harmful words, and the one delivering them) get disempowered and damaged.

Call to Action

Regardless of why or where it came from, I have committed to never use the phrase “like a girl” in a derogatory sense ever again. In fact, I have recommitted myself to being intentional with my words from here on out.

James tells us that, “No human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.”And for me to watch my mouth, I'm going to need God's help! When I first watched the “Like a Girl” video I asked God to forgive me for being so careless with my words, and asked Him to help me only speak Abundant Life giving words. Like the Psalmist, I prayed “Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips!”

I invite you to do the same!

What other phrases do YOU think need to be erased from our lexicon?

References:

  • Proverbs 18:21
  • Matthew 12:36


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