The winter storm pinged against the windows like handfuls of gravel, keeping the small twin sisters stuck indoors. Normally friends, Mandy and Angie had shared a womb, then a room, and hours of play together.
Soon a loud thermometer of sisterly love rang out, “You’re not the boss of me!” You can’t play with my toys any more!”
Imaging this could soon erupt into a hair-pulling fist fight, Grandma headed down the hall. One twin catapulted towards her, and nearly knocked Grandma down. The twin’s loud wails pierced the quiet house.
“What’s the matter, Sweetie?” Grandma pulled her close and stroked the girl’s hair. She studied the twin’s clothes to see which of the mirror-image granddaughters she held before calling her by name.
Sniffling and hiccupping, Angie finally cried out the hurtful words, “My sister said that I am ugly–and she is beautiful!”
Grandma called the siblings together. “Nonsense, Angie. God made each of you special and neither one of you is ugly. You look just alike.”
Both looked at each other with amazement as if for the first time.
“That means you are both beautiful!” Grandma declared. “Besides I need you girls to help me with the cookies. But first you need to fix your words and thoughts.” She helped the girls see the power of words. Soon, the twins were crying out apologies and clinging to each other. Friends again, Angie and Mandy headed to the kitchen, ready to fix the rest of the world’s problems with chocolate chip cookies.
King Solomon summarized the potency of words in Proverbs 12:18: “Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” [NIV]
During the holiday season, television sitcoms present fictional families with problems, solutions and fuzzy warm feelings all wrapped up in a tidy 30-minute package.
In real life, words can begin a conflict that is not resolved in a half hour, perhaps not in half a decade. Each thought, attitude and word has even greater weight with people you may only see rarely.
“Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord,” advise the writers of the book of Hebrew 12:14. [NIV].
Think on the words that may have given you a glow:
“I love you.”
“I’m proud of you.”
“You are such a special person to me.”
“I pray for you every day.”
“Thanks so much for your thoughtfulness.”
“You are really good at this!”
“You look great! Are you working out? Have you lost weight?”
Now those are words worth fighting for!
[Jo Russell is a Christian teacher, speaker, author of many articles, contributor to several anthologies, and Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women, Intermedia Publishing, 2011. For more chuckles, keep checking her weekly blog on Button-to-God.com.]