Words have power. I firmly believe this, not because my manipulation of the English language is my bread and butter, but because words can change minds, provide new perspectives, and motivate and inspire individuals to be more than they ever thought they could be. They can also tear nations apart, break people down, and instill hopelessness, disgrace, and fear. Words carry emotion, good or bad, and can cause quite the impact if we let them.
Words hold an unbelievable amount of power, but there is something more that fuels the impact of words; character. Character is sometimes mistaken for personality, but it is very different. Where personality can reveal who you are to the outside world (someone who laughs a lot, breaks out in song and dance, shares their opinions, etc.) character can show what is inside of you such as your morals, integrity, belief systems and so forth. It can be easy to identify someone’s personality, but a bit more challenging to determine their character. Talk about making it difficult to know how people tick.
What do words and character have to do with each other, anyway? How many times has someone said something that has caused you to take offence? It can be the smallest comment but hit a nerve that vibrates with anger and annoyance until offence settles in, making it even more difficult to break free from the comment and the emotions that came with it. One thing that we need to ask, which I have been struggling to do in this season of life, is, “What does their character say? How does this align with who they are? Are they out to hurt me or to guide me? Would they purposefully poke at this wound to bring pain, or are they trying to help me get to the root of the issue?
I was thinking of God’s character, which is an overwhelming thought because God’s character is so incredibly amazing that it is hard to grasp; but this passage from Matthew came to mind.
24 “Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. 25 Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise, and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock. 26 But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. 27 When the rains and floods come, and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.”– Matthew 7:24-27
I can’t say that I fully comprehend God’s character, but I am beginning to understand through my own testimony, that He is for us and not against us. Digging into the Bible, there are many instances where people questioned God and His words, despite knowing that He was the King of kings and creator of the earth. God reminded them of His goodness, His love, and His detailed and flawless plan for their lives, and continued to do so every time His character was questioned.
It’s as the verse in Matthew says… if we listen to God’s teaching, which reveals a tremendous amount about His character, we can rest and rely on that when the going gets tough. To be in a relationship with God and share life with Him means that He wants His children to understand His teachings and His character and the place of love from which He is coming. When we can fully understand that, we can lean on Him with confidence and courage in both the good times and the bad, instead of being swept away by the first wave of obstacles and faith-testers that come against us.
We can see time and time again throughout the Bible, that the character of God is what needs to be considered, as it can bring clarity and help us remain firm in our faith. In everyday life, we have the opportunity to choose to believe one another’s characters and use those as a way to understand people’s actions and comments. When we do this, we can begin to develop deeper and more stable relationships, which is what God intended for us from the very beginning.