I had just returned home from church one Sunday, and I was on a spiritual cloud. I felt renewed in my faith and inspired by the message spoken from the pulpit.
As I was getting out of my car, I heard voices speaking in elevated tones. They were slashing each other with verbal weapons, which included name-calling and lots of curse words. I hurried to get inside my house to avoid being touched by their words. Unfortunately, it was too late to completely shield my heart. My tender thoughts of faith had been temporarily interrupted by a feeling similar to being in a rear-end car collision.
It took me a few minutes to emotionally recover from this scenario as I reminded myself that words are filled with power. In fact, they are one of the most powerful forces on earth.
Words are used to express feelings, communicate information, or render a verdict or judgment. Once a word has left the speaker, it’s as irreversible as trying to return squeezed toothpaste back into its tube. Words can shine a light to illuminate truth, or they can ignite a roaring fire of darkness with a lie.
Armed with the realization of the power in words, imagine the effect of using words to complain or continuously express dissatisfaction. Those complaints become brutally annoying, like the sound of a leaky faucet.
A few examples might be grumbling over a physical or medical ailment, expressing dissatisfaction over the government or its policies, murmuring about your job, or worse, moaning about a specific person. Complaining fills the air with negativity and has the sting of broken glass, wherever it lands.
Throughout biblical history, continual murmuring or complaining often ended with dark and dramatic consequences—death, plague, or abandonment. In today’s world, the consequence of repeated complaining divides, causes strife, and can trigger unintended evil. Even death has occurred in several instances.
My yoga instructor mentioned complaints as “un-prayers.” I found that a brilliant description of a complaint. Using the examples I mentioned earlier, I wanted to see how we might avoid an un-prayer.
Life truly is a journey and an expression of God’s gift of grace. Un-prayers will short circuit that gift. Whenever your prayers become un-prayers, you lose your peace, your joy, and your opportunity to experience the miracle of God’s power. Keep your prayers -- eliminate the un-prayers.
“Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” (Proverbs 16:24)