About the Author

Angela Nazworth is a shame-fighting storyteller who writes mostly about the beauty of grace, faith, friendship, vulnerability and community. She is a wife and a mother of two. Angela's also an encourager, a lover of good books, coffee, girl's night out, sunshine, and waterfalls. In the 15 years since she...

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  1. Angela,
    This was such a timely message for me. I have felt myself getting up on my high horse with a certain person in my life. I feel the words on the tip of my tongue ready to spew out venom at the smallest provocation. Meanwhile, I know how easily I am wounded by words. Words are my “love language”, but they also cut to my core so easily. Thank you for getting me to think whether or not I would want to be the recipient of my own harsh words. May the words of my mouth be acceptable in Thy sight, O Lord…
    Blessings,
    Bev xx

    • Bev,
      The words you use here every day are are such a beautiful examples of using language to affirm and edify hearts for God.Thank you for being such a source of encouragement. And also … I understand what you mean about your love language. Words of Affirmation are mine as well and that is why negative words or even no words can cut me to the bone. I’m so thankful that I have Jesus’ loving words to cling to always. XOXO

      • Thanks Angela. In my life, I have been cut to the bone by vicious and abusive words. I made a promise to myself that I would try my very best not to let my words do that to someone else. I have learned the joy and life that edifying words can bring…I put that as my goal. I, too, cling to Jesus’ loving words to me!! xoxo

  2. Thank you, Angela, for sharing this important reminder. It’s often one of those face-palm moments for me when I look at someone and wonder why they can’t get it. I consider the Israelites wandering the desert and think: “How? How could they not have faith of steel after what they JUST experienced in and after Egypt???” It usually isn’t long before I’m reminded: “What about you? Don’t you have enough Truth between the leather covers to have ‘faith of steel’? – yet you don’t…” Oh, the humbling reminders that we need His grace every single moment, that on our own we can’t handle our thoughts, or words, or deeds – they all need to be shaped by the lover of our hearts. Today, may we run to Him to guide our every word, that it may give grace to those who hear, and honor Him.

    • Oh Karen! I loved what you wrote about how we need to be shaped by the lover of our hearts. So true!

  3. Beautiful honesty, Angela. I identify with your situation, and I can remember sharing some not-so-flattering comments in my college days as well. Now, as a teacher myself, I see things from a different perspective! How our words matter. And yes, they do have power! Wonderful post today:)

    • Thank you, Kristine. It’s always scary to share parts of my not-so-pretty side. Hugs to you!

  4. Thank you Angela, I was adopted by a couple many years ago 6 months after the wife almost lost her own life due to an ectopic pregnancy.i don’t think she ever fully recovered mentally or emotionally. I was a child needy for love, yet I learned very early on I didn’t measure up .even when the words weren’t direct,the tone was.i have carried this my entire life,and it has haunted me.thank you for passing it on.Words can hurt,and they can heal,when received.

    • Sweet Cindy, I am so sorry that you have been hurt by words said and not said. I pray that the words of our savior will be balm to your soul and bring healing to your heart. You are beautiful and loved and ENOUGH!

    • Cindy,
      So sorry that you were hurt by words and tone. May God bring about a calming sense of peace to your heart and soul!! Prayers for emotional, and spiritual healing! Never ever forget that you are beautiful–made in the image of God!!
      Blessings 🙂

  5. I have been at the receiving end of words that kill, maim and are meant to destroy. Had it not been God I doubt if I would want to listen to your words today.But there’s something called healing, I was sustained by another minister who preached the word that’s been my anchor. Has it abated , no. But I am learning to not let the birds nest in my air. God bless you.

    • Thank you for sharing Adeola. I have been on the receiving end of unkind words as well … in fact I think that sometimes those of us who have been hurt with words can be quick to retaliate with words. I am so glad that God has healed your deep wounds. Blessings to you.

      • Whenever you are praying please remember me I am walking through the valley of the shadow of death but I know great is His faithfulness.

    • Adeola,
      Praying for you now! May God bring you out of the valley& shadows and into His shining light!
      Blessings 🙂

  6. Angela, I so appreciate your words about the power of words. As Bev said, it’s timely for me. There have been a number of conversations this past week or so which were difficult and painful with differing degrees. One in particular had a mixed of potentially constructive criticism and the less than edifying criticism you referred to. In many ways I can relate to the professor you evaluated as my communication, teaching, parenting and relational skills were highly scrutinized. As your professor did, I invited the critic. Yet, I am reeling with trying to sort through what is true of me and what may be an overreaction from my critic which stems from resentment rather than love. It’s pressing me into prayer, asking the Lord for discernment and the truth. I also know that I’m vulnerable at the moment to speak unedifying words to others because of the pain from the unedifying words spoken to me. So, I am deeply grateful to the Lord for the passage in Ephesians to meditate on as a weapon against this temptation. Thank you, Angela.

    • Thank you for sharing, Diana. I am so sorry that you in a difficult season stemming from the harsh words of others. I wish I had more space to write in blog posts, because if I did, I would follow up with encouragement about the times when we are hurt by words … how important it is to not let the insults of others define you and instead rest in the knowledge of to whom you belong. XOXOXO

      • Thank you, Angela, for your empathy in my difficult season. This empathy is like a drop of water on a parched tongue. Even though I would love (and need) encouraging words that follow the hurt by harsh criticism more in a dialog fashion like I think you were suggesting, I am so very grateful for these words right here, “how important it is to not let the insults of others define you and instead rest in the knowledge of to whom you belong”. Yes, these words meet with ones given by another through song lyrics which say, “I am no longer a slave to fear (in this case fear of man). I am a child of God.” Blessings to you!

  7. My husband and I are currently, quietly, calmly seeking the right words to say to a family member whom we care deeply about. We realize we could choose words that divide (which also happen to be the first ones that come to our minds if I’m really honest here) or we could wait patiently and let God give us words that will build bridges where healing can make its way across. We’ve chosen the latter and it’s been good. As we’ve slowed down and not spoken and let time settle in and put some space between us and the issue, we find that our tongues aren’t on fire anymore and we are coming from a place of wanting to help instead of accuse, love instead of lament, build up instead of tear down. We are choosing to make spending time with this person a priority and there will be no agenda in our words, but simply conversation.

    • Beth … so much truth in the advice to be “slow to speak.” Praying for your words today. Thank you for sharing.

  8. THE TONGUE

    James 3:1-12

    Its power is mighty

    To bless or to curse

    It can make you feel better

    It can make you feel worse

    It’s compared to a serpent,

    a viper, a snake

    I have total control

    Unless I’m awake

    Tho it’s small as a bit

    Or a ship’s tiny rudder

    The words it can say

    Can make your heart shudder

    Gossip & nagging

    Praises and hymns

    How can this thing

    Do all on a whim?

    Be wise in the way

    You speak to others

    Remember in Christ

    They’re our sisters and
    brothers.

    Let the light of Christ

    Show on your face.

    Let your words be seasoned

    with love & grace.

    Thru Christ you have power

    whether written or sung.

    Take hold of the bridle

    or be hung by the tongue!

    Lisa Simmons

    Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths,

    but only what is helpful for building others up according

    to their needs that it might benefit those who listen.

    Eph 4:29

  9. You’re so right, our speech has such a powerful effect on others. The Bible is full of counsel about our speech, one that comes to mind is “Thoughtless speech is like the stabs of a sword,
    But the tongue of the wise is a healing.” -Proverbs 12:18. Jehovah God knew that as imperfect people this would be a problem we would have. I know it’s something I constantly try to remember and work on. Thanks for sharing these thoughts!

  10. Nice job on this one Angela….I have had a couple of encounters with “words” that I cannot forget and still after years find it hard to forgive ( I know, I know, not very Godly of me but man it is hard).

    Once I was on the receiving end of too truthful of words from my neighbor and another time through an email from my sister. I always feel they probably wish they could take their words back/ erase them but once they are out there its hard.

    • I believe that harsh words are difficult to forgive because the enemy likes to replay them for us even after the offender repents and apologizes. So. Hard. Keep relying on Jesus to give you the strength to let go of those hurts as they are not from Him. Hugs to you.

  11. Thank-you Angela,

    This post is so meaningful. I wish everyone could read and learn from it.

    Penny

  12. Angela,

    There’s a good reason scripture says life and death are in the power of the tongue. Very strong power in our tongue. This is such a good post. I know I have lashed out, and not liked receiving it. back from someone else. It does hurt.

    I also have been on the receiving end of evaluations from classes I have facilitated. While some have been constructive, and some are perceptions because another person would say the exact opposite with the same topic. But a couple were vicious. I will never forget a person who I had to call her out various times in class for good reasons, and did it in a firm way, but not unkind, and wow! just nothing good to say. That made me stagger. I was not prepared for it.

    But I also had to keep in my mind I could process it, but I could not let me be crippled by this review. God had me in this ministry, and He would teach me through this. But, it was very hard, and initially I questioned everything I said and did.

    This was their perception, not my performance, and I still had to be doing what the Holy Spirit led me to do and say. The person I had to call out, did eventually come out of denial, but was still angry. I learned in subsequent classes to say the hard things in a different way, and make my word more palatable giving the person much valuing statements while still saying the same thing as before. A tough lesson to learn, but worth it.

    You writing a letter of apology shows your maturation in Christ, and your willingness to be teachable and led by the Holy Spirit. It also shows humbleness. You’ve learned lessons you don’t want to repeat. All of this learning by your mistakes. Jesus will do that.

    Your kids will learn a lot from your humility and apology what they need to do when they mess up. They learn the value of extending grace too. Eventually the message can come across that even if you mess up, you still love them and are glade they are your children, and love who they are, not what they do. Jesus will give you/me plenty of opportunity to learn the lessons He’s in the process of teaching you/me.

    Blessings,

    Joanne

    • Oh Joanne, I am so sorry for your hurt … and so grateful for the sweet, encouraging words you offered me just now. Thank you so much. You are precious.

  13. Angela,
    I’ve been praying that God would put His hand over my mouth and keep me from saying the wrong words or using the wrong tone. The tongue is more powerful than any two edged sword and can do just as much damage. We must learn to tame the tongue and start thinking before we speak!! Words we use can either edify or wound someone deeply. I want my words to be sweet like honey and good for the soul! 🙂
    Blessings 🙂

  14. Love this post so much. Thank you for sharing. I for sure need to be reminded of the power and importance of my words.