Jordan B Peterson relates the power of words with a story of an anti-social, lonely man who for 10 years would take up 90% of an hour psychotherapy session. He was not accustomed to the subtleties of social interaction, so his behaviours, verbal and nonverbal, lacked the dance-like rhythm and harmony that characterize the socially fluent. Nevertheless, he eventually healed himself through meaningful conversation.
People depend on constant communication with others to keep their minds organized. We all need to think to keep things straight, but we mostly think by talking.
We need to talk about the past, so we can distinguish the trivial, overblown concerns that otherwise plague our thoughts from the experiences that are truly important. We need to talk about the nature of the present and our plans for the future, so we know where we are, where we are going, and why we are going there. We must submit the strategies and tactics we formulate to the judgments of others, to ensure their efficiency and resilience. We need to listen to ourselves as we talk, as well, so that we may organize our otherwise inchoate bodily reactions, motivations, and emotions into something articulate and organized, and dispense with those concerns that are exaggerated and irrational. We need to talk—both to remember and to forget. ((Footnote ‘Beyond order’ 12 more rules for life’ Jordan B Peterson))
“Life and death are in the power of the tongue“ see also v20.
A man’s stomach shall be satisfied from the fruit of his mouth; From the produce of his lips he shall be filled. Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit. It is an issue of the heart: (Prov 4:23)
The Creative Power of Words
God created Eden out of chaos with WORDS – Gen 1. Adam & Eve had to name the animals in order to subdue them, which takes words! ((Footnote Rule 10: be precise in speech – Peterson, J., n.d. Summary of 12 rules for life.))
God created order out of chaos through precise words.
Every healing and miracles JESUS worked, he did use Words.
Jesus is the very expression of God’s words.
Everything that exists came about by words.
According to Genesis 1&2 we see a pattern of how God uses His Words.
CREATES / BUILDS – Eph 4:29
God’s words IDENTIFY – Gen 2:19
God’s Words MULTIPLY – His word is a seed – Isa 55:11
Why silence is never an option.
There is a time to speak, and a time to be silent. (Eccl 3:7-8) We get it wrong: In that when we should speak we remain silent, in fear that we will be judged, moralized, or offend.
We should never be silent when:
1. We see our brother err.
Let him know, that he which convert the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins. (James 5:20) Brothers, even if a person is caught in some transgression, you who are spiritual should correct that one in a gentle spirit, looking to yourself, so that you also may not be tempted. (Galatians 6:1)
2. In the face of injustice
Speak up, judge righteously, and defend the rights of the afflicted and oppressed. (Prov 31:9)
3. When my heart is unhappy about something someone has done.
“Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit. 34 Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. 35 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. 36 But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. 37 For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” (Matthew 12:33-37)
Speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things (Eph 4:15) It is my experience that the first round of meaningful dialogue that is sincerely honest is usually negative. Because we still try to formulate our thoughts, and usually blunder out what is in our head. It takes a second and third session to clarify, what was meant, and what is understood to restore empathy. Never disengage! No silent treatment. Keep at it, until empathy arises in both parties’ hearts.
How we misconstrue verbal intend
((Footnote In Noam Chomsky’s 1957 Ph.D. thesis, Transformational Grammar, he said there are three processes by which people create the filters of their individual Model of the World.))
((Footnote Rose Charvet, S., 2019. Words That Change Minds. Institute for Influence.))
Be precise in Speech
Choose your words wisely: Proverbs 12:14, 18; 21:23; Prov 13:3; 15:1; Mt 12:36-37
See also; Pr 10:19; 12:18,25; 15:1; 16:24; 25:15; Ecc 12:11; Jas 3:1-12.
The words advice of the young ambitions prideful men to Rehabeam swayed and cause the kingdom to split (2Ch 10:13-14)
Two messengers the one properly mandated bad news report was well-received (2 Sam 18:19-32)
For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body. (James 3:5,6)
5 Practical Steps
- Hear Me
- Even if you disagree with me, don’t make me wrong
- Acknowledge the greatness within me
- Remember to look for my loving intentions
- Tell me the truth with compassion
((Footnote: Thanks the Arthur Gillis for sharing these thoughts, from a speech he gave at the Young Presidents Association)