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Your Words Matter

August 30, 2012

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

August 28 marked 49 years ago since Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his famous “I Have a Dream Speech” on the steps at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. Needless to say, this short speech was a defining moment for the Civil Rights Movement, as well as for all of American history.

Dr. King’s words still resonate among our nation today. Students across the country continue to study the speech, the words, and the impact of one man.

The excerpt above is my favorite quote from the speech. For I, too, hope my children will be judged by their character and not the color of their skin. Nearly 50 years later, King’s words matter.

The “I Have a Dream Speech” is just over 1,600 words and took approximately 17 minutes to speak. But Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s words changed hearts … changed America. And they continue to do so today.

Words matter.

They make a difference. They have an impact. They are remembered for a lifetime.

“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 may benefit those who listen.” (Ephesians 4:29, NIV)

You may never speak to a crowd of thousands on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

Your words may never be televised.

Your words may never be studied by generations of students.

Your words may never be recorded in history books.

But your words matter.

Your words will be remembered.

Your words will have an impact.

Your words will make a difference.

Your words will crush or encourage.

What words come out of your mouth … to your family, your husband, your children, your friends, your neighbors, your co-workers?

Are you building others up with your words or tearing them down?

What impact will your words have?

“Thoughtless words cut like a sword. But the tongue of wise people brings healing.” (Proverbs 12:18, NIrV)

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©2011- 2012 Christi McGuire. All Rights Reserved.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Ashley Kerth permalink
    August 30, 2012 9:12 am

    Love this post, Christi. It’s so true that we should speak thoughtfully and kindly, especially to those we love. Adam still remembers something that his grandmother said to him when he was seven that hurt his heart. She probably didn’t even remember saying it, but 28 years later, he still remembers and talks about it. She was a wonderful woman, and most certainly it was just a thoughtless slip-up. The point is, he internalized it and thinks about it even into adulthood.

  2. September 3, 2012 8:56 am

    This is a great reminder. I am reading Game of Thrones right now, and Arya is always repeating to herself, “Fear cuts deeper than swords.” I think “words” could definitely replace “fear” in that sentence. Along the same lines as Ashley’s comment above, when I was 14, I said something nasty to my mother that still makes me cringe. In hindsight, I was probably just behaving like an age-appropriate bratty adolescent, but it still acts as a reminder to be careful what I say because those words cannot be taken back.

    • September 3, 2012 7:55 pm

      Words can definitely cut deeper than swords. The Bible says it’s a “double-edge sword” that we use to curse man and praise God at the same time. I have memories of saying hurtful things that I can’t take back. Hopefully, as we get older we are getting more mature and wiser!

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