Words that heal

Words that heal

We hear words every day. Some words can carry an energy that hurts, but there are also words that heal. Let’s focus on words that heal and not hurt. 

It wasn’t just the words they said; it was the energy behind them that truly cut me to shreds. It was like a battery powered amplifier had been plugged mains.

Words can cut
Words can heal
Words can power us up
Words can tear us down

Words can bring us hope
Words can steal it away
The word became flesh
And set up tent amongst us (John1:14)

The word brought truth and life
It healed the sick and broken
Word still lives on within us
Words of love that must be spoken

Have you had words spoken to you with an energy that has crushed you to dust?

Maybe words have been said that seem to heal the soul. Simple sentences that sift through the scatteredness and bring together some hope.

Medicine to the deepest pains.

You Are Loved
You Are Held
You Are Known

What has your experience been with words?

Words that heal the soul

When I first started as a pastor helping people with serious mental health illnesses, I was given the book Connecting by Dr. Larry Crabb.

The quote below still rings true for much of what I do even now, 25 years later.

Beneath what our culture calls psychological disorder is a soul crying out for what only community can provide.

There is no “disorder” requiring “treatment.”

And, contrary to hard-line moralism, there is more to our struggles than a stubborn will needing firm admonishment.

Beneath all our problems, there are desperately hurting souls that must find the nourishment only community can provide—or die.

We must do something other than train professional experts to fix damaged psyches. Damaged psyches aren’t the problem.

The problem beneath our struggles is a disconnected soul.

And we must do something more than exhort people to do what’s right and then hold them accountable.

Groups tend to emphasize accountability when they don’t know how to relate.

Better behavior through exhortation isn’t the solution, though it sometimes is part of it.

Rather than fixing psyches or scolding sinners, we must provide nourishment for the disconnected soul that only a community of connected people can offer. Larry Crabb Connecting.

What words would a ‘desperately hurting soul’ most need to hear?

What words provide nourishment for a disconnected soul?

Certainly not F.A.S.S. words – Fixing, Advising, Saving, or Setting one straight words.

There is no list of words

We all want a list of words to say. A program to follow, a system to put into place.

But perhaps more so, we need a quietness to where we can hear ‘Spirit words’ of comfort and hope.

Jesus, the Word, said this.

But when the Father sends the Comforter instead of me—and by the Comforter I mean the Holy Spirit—he will teach you much, as well as remind you of everything I myself have told you. John 14:26

Words that heal come from a comforter who knows exactly what the soul needs.

So we listen.

Not to our knowledge, experience, textbooks, or latest guru. Many of those need to be put to the side, at least for a little while. But more so to Spirit, who leads us into all truth.

That’s the connection that is most needed.


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Quotes to consider

  • God’s healing has more to do with learning to worship than it does with getting life fixed. Craig Barnes
  • Love acts like a giant magnet that pulls out of us, like iron filings, every recorded injury, every scar. Terrence Real
  • Learn to respond to others with honest, open questions instead of counsel or corrections. With such questions, we help “hear each other into deeper speech.” Parker J. Palmer.
  • When you speak to me about your deepest questions, you do not want to be fixed or saved: you want to be seen and heard, to have your truth acknowledged and honored. Parker J. Palmer. A Hidden Wholeness: The Journey Toward an Undivided Life
  • Good work is relational, and its outcomes depend on what we are able to evoke from each other. Parker J. Palmer
  • It is usually most helpful to ask questions that are more about the person than about the problem. Parker J. Palmer

Questions to answer

  1. What words have helped you most in your journey?
  2. There is often an energy behind and under words that have been said. What do you pick up on most? The word being said or the energy contained within the word?
  3. What words do you need to say more to yourself?

Formation exercise

  • Reflect on your journal writing. What are the words you have used, mostly? What is the energy under them? Is the energy one of criticism, hope, struggle, delight?

Further reading

The Right Word at the Right Time – A Rhema Word

It’s the Words You Say that will Steer your life

To be Fed by a Diet of Words

Please. No Fixing, Advising, Saving or Straightening Out

Barry Pearman

Photo by Leighann Blackwood on Unsplash


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