The Power of Words
As I get older, I find myself involved in several things that are disturbing:
1. I forget sometimes what I am looking for.
2. I lose things—like my car keys that I found in my underwear drawer.
3. I half-way remember things, but cannot remember where to look for them.
It is the latter that disturbs me most, particularly when I know something is important, and I wrote it down somewhere, but don’t remember when or where.
As an example of this, the most powerful sermon ever preached in our chapel was by Bonnie Austin. Bonnie was near the end of her life and she told me, "I have something I want to share with my friends who come to chapel, but I don’t have much time left."
So the next week, Bonnie spoke on the Power of Words! The chapel was full, something like 44 people, the most we have ever had. It was the most powerful speech I have ever heard. People who heard it said "it changed their lives."
With that all said, look above: "I can’t remember where to look for them!"
I have been on a hunt for her words for two years now. I went to my old journals, that I knew the dates for, but they were not there. It has been very disturbing not to be able to find those notes I wrote down that day.
Now, to the present time. I don’t know about you, but I have a terrible problem with passwords. I can’t remember them. I write them down and forget where I put them. You understand, right? Anyway I have been looking for my passwords for my Picasa Account and my Flickr Account. I have been unsuccessful. I have looked EVERYWHERE !! Recently, I looked through every book I had about computers with no success. I have really given up hope. I hate to have pictures posted on the internet that I can’t get to.
In my futility, I went through 6 moleskine notesbooks I keep, where I list all the patients I visit. Surely, I put down a password there. In the sixth, and final book, I didn’t find the password, but I found a page that said this:THE POWER OF WORDS by Bonnie Austin.
I can’t tell you how excited I was. Here were her final thoughts that she wanted to share with people she loved before she died. (She died two weeks later.)Introduction:
Words can hurt you! What words do you feed yourself? Good words or bad words? "If you look, you will see that words have influenced your life,"
said Bonnie. And the important thing she said was, "When we speak to someone we should leave people better than we found them."
Wow…what a good point.
Next she said, "Kind words can be short but their echoes are endless."
She then quotes scripture from the book of James. "No man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers, can a fig tree hear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water." (James 3:7-12)
Bonnie then listed the four phrases with the words she said were the most important words we should ever say.
Remember this is from a person who would die two weeks later.
1. I Love You ….the most important words you will ever say.
2. I’m sorry……Please forgive me.
3. I forgive you.
4. Thank you.
These “are the words that matter most,” said Bonnie
She then concluded with two other scripture passages. She emphasized that "the righteous weight their words that spirit lifting notes to people can change peoples lives."
Proverbs 17:14 –"The beginning of strife is as when one letteth out water: therefore leave off contention, before it be meddled with."
And finally, from Psalms 19:14, "Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, Oh Lord, my strength and my redeemed."Prayer: (
Lord, thank you that when we forget, you remember.
That our words do make a difference.
And that people’s lives and words do change us.
And for the memory of Bonnie’s last sermon.