Words: they can be spoken so quickly and have lasting effects. Recently I had a conversation where assumptions were made and a person began to describe my way of thinking. They were mistaken, and I found myself tongue-tied trying to defend myself. It rattled my psychological cage. They voiced presumptions as if they were facts. As I quietly let their words absorb, I tried to be open minded and flexible, thinking to myself, Could this be how I’m truly perceived, or is this just this one person’s perception? The more I thought about it, I knew their words were meant to unnerve me, but the words were still out there, and it was disturbing.

I went home and the phrases settled into my thoughts, frequently rising up for the next couple of weeks. They began to grow into self-doubt and anxiety. It was unhealthy thinking. Ironically, or more likely God’s inspired timing, our writing team was asked to start researching the topic of “the power of words.” So I began to research words and blessings. My studies took me to the Bible story of Jacob stealing his brother Esau’s blessing that should have been given to him by his father, Isaac. Jacob was sneaky, disguising himself as Esau so that his blind father would be fooled. He lied and got the blessing from his father. When Esau realized what had been taken from him, he was distraught and begged his father to give him a different blessing. He wanted his father to speak good things into his life, too. He wanted to hear his father affirm him. His father didn’t really bless him, and Esau’s hurt grew into hatred towards his brother. Though Isaac did not give Esau a blessing, he did tell Esau these powerful words.

You will live off the land and what it yields, and you will live by your sword. You will serve your brother for a time, but then you will shake loose from him and be free.” Genesis 27:39 – 40 NLT

It’s the second line that spoke to me. In the King James it says verse 40 like this, “and it shall come to pass when thou shalt have the dominion (which means power, authority, and control), that thou shalt break his yoke (which means repression or burden) from off thy neck.”

Let me quote this scripture one last time from the Student Life Application Bible.

It says, “But when you decide to break free, you will shake his yoke from your neck.”

Do you see it? It’s a choice: a decision. When we choose to reject negative words or behaviors that have hurt us, not letting them twist us up emotionally, we can live in authority and control. When we reject wrongful words, we are freed from their sting. That was a breakthrough moment for me as I read this Scripture. It’s amazing to me that I’ve read over that verse so many times as part of the story, but it never spoke to me personally. That’s the power of Scripture, it can come to life and speak to your spirit.

I decided then and there that the negative and hurtful words spoken to me were not going to have hold on my thoughts any longer. I released them, and the weight of anxiety lifted.

Can you relate? Have you been carrying the weight of someones words? Have they caused you anxiety and self-doubt?

I prayed the following prayer each time my thoughts wandered back to those hurtful words. Feel free to fill in the blanks with your own circumstances.

Lord, the words that __________ said have hurt me, but I no longer want them controlling my thoughts. Lord, I choose to forgive ____________, and I’m deciding today not to accept their negative words into my heart any longer. I am taking control of my thoughts, and I accept your freedom. Amen.