How to Win the War of Words

Sep 22, 2020

The frontlines of life and leadership often means you’re on the frontlines of a war of words


This isn’t a surprise. Years of experience (and, perhaps siblings) has prepared you for battle. You’ve studied the approach of excellent leaders. You’ve listened to their advice and even had some experience navigating your own encounters with explosive rants and penetrating “ninja star” comments. You’ve learned the art of engagement and even learned some of what the Bible has to say about taming the tongue, responding in kindness, and loving (difficult) people. 


But no matter how ready you are, there are some words that take you by surprise


These words cause the kind of damage that threatens to leave you with soul-deep injuries. They may come from leaders you worked hard to please. Others from people around you who like to talk more about people than ideas. Maybe some come from a close friend or parent. 


As we’ve watched and mentored women on the frontlines of the war of words, we’ve discovered something unexpected. Despite all that’s said by others, it’s the words we speak to ourselves that pose the greatest threat. 


This is how it works. Long before we’re tempted to engage on the battlefield of the meeting room or in skirmishes on email, social media or at home, we talk to ourselves. We think through what we’ll say. We sharpen our tongues and weaponize our words for release at the right time. We fight with ourselves as though we’re fighting it out with the other person. And we listen, paying close attention to our words as we say them over and over again in our head (or in our cars!). 


But do we really hear what we’re saying? And do we realize the impact those words are having on our own life?


You may be feeling the heat from being on the frontlines of a war of words right now, so you know the volume is intense! When you’re invested, it can be hard to hear the impact of your words before they come out of your mouth. And though you intend to make an impact on the world “out there,” your words have to pass through you first. This means their first point of impact isn’t the first person to like your post or respond to your comments in the meeting. Their first point of impact is you


The war of words isn’t actually fought on the frontlines. It’s fought in your mind. 


You hear your words first as a thought. Your thoughts become what you speak. Each time you speak, you hear and build faith for what you say. It’s not just you framing a strategy for a conversation that may or may not happen. It’s you speaking words into reality, first in your attitudes, beliefs and actions, then in the lives of those around you.

No matter where you are in the war of words, your words are at work. They’re shaping your inner convictions about people and issues. Even more so, they’re shaping you.


In fact, your words have more impact on your life than anyone else’s words! 


Think about it. You hear your words, all the time. You may repeat what someone else said, but those words are now your words. All the lovely and unkind words that have been spoken to you or about you have the potential to change your life if you give them space to work.


So ask yourself, what work are my words doing in me?


Are your words reckless and causing harm or wise and full of healing (Prov. 12:18)? 

Do they energize your life or crush your spirit (Prov. 15:4)? 

Are your words full of peace (Prov. 16:24) or careless and hasty (Matt. 12:36)?

Do they speak blessing or curses (James 3:10)?

Are your words building you up or tearing you down (Eph. 4:29)?


When you ask these questions, be prepared to discover that some things need to change. Thoughts are like muscles. You have to introduce new patterns of thought to change old ones. And those patterns will take time and effort before they become an easy part of your thought life and everyday conversations.


Here’s your mentoring moment for today: To fully experience breakthrough, you have to start saying new things about some current or old situations. 


The war of words is being waged all the time. You’re on the frontlines somewhere. And as it is with all things, you overcome by what Jesus did for you and by the words of your testimony (Rev. 12:11). 


The key to victory is to align your words to bless, build, energize, heal and bring peace.


Your words change everything. So change everything with your words.


Until next time,


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