One of the upbeat songs that often get played on Christian radio stations is Toby Mac‘s “Speak Life.” Even though the rhythm is attractive, its lyrics really speak a lot of volumes because the words are really encouraging:
Some days life feels perfect
Other days, it just ain’t workin’
The good, the bad, the right, the wrong
And everything in between you
It’s crazy, amazing
We can turn our heart through the words we say
Mountains crumble with every syllable
Hope you live or die
So speak life, speak life
To deadest darkest night
Speak life, speak life
When the sun won’t shine and you don’t know why
Look into the eyes of the broken hearted
Watch them come alive as soon as you speak hope
You speak love, you speak.
You speak life
You speak life
The artist reminds us that we can turn hearts around or shut people off with the words that we say. We can lift someone up or put them down with simple words. We can build someone up or destroy them with the verbal things that we say. The way that we speak has the power to give life by letting God speaks through us! How? Perhaps, who we are, how and what we speak is not just something word-based, but in a greater sense, our very attitudes and lives.
“How do we speak life?”, one might ask. In order to give life to our words and actions, I believe we first have to recognize who has given us life. As Christians, we believe firmly that God has created us out of love and for love. Since God is love, all of His creations are filled with love, especially humanity as the culmination and epitome of this created love. Therefore, we are not just some random outcomes of a process of evolution or chances. Each and every one of us was loved into being by the Almighty! Therefore, each and every one of us share in this divine and everlasting love with who we are. He has created us in His own image and likeness; therefore, who we are, what we do and say are not something meaningless. Our words and actions have meanings because they are extensions of who we are! They have the power to give life or destroy one another by what we say and do. We can choose to let God speaks and works through us by intentionally willing, praying, and choosing to radiate His love in our life or let our words and actions become self-centered. Words and actions can remain as they are or they can invite and point to the greater reality since we are not just who we think we are simply as human beings but as children of almighty and loving God.
In his treatise on Christian perfection, St. Gregory of Nyssa elaborated and wrote in-depth of what we are called to be and how we can radiate Christ’s light through our words and actions:
When we consider that Christ is the true light far removed from all falsehood, we realise that our lives too should be lit by the rays of the sun of justice, which shine for our enlightenment. These rays are the virtues by which we cast off the works of darkness and conduct ourselves becomingly as in the light of day. Then, when we refuse to have anything to do with the darkness of wickedness and do everything in the light, we ourselves shall also become light and our works will give light to others, for it is in the nature of light to shine out.
As the Devil and his minions try to sow hatred, despair, and divisions among us, especially manipulating and playing on our human weaknesses to turn us against one another, it is important for us to realize that they do not have the ultimate powers. Even though the evil ones might seem in control with their deceptive manipulations, they are only but creatures. Even though they are smarter than us and attentive to when we are weakest to use us to sow darkness, we can and do have the power and free will to turn against their deceits and depend on God’s grace. The King of love and Lord of this universe will always have the last word and will strengthen and protect those who seek refuge in Him!
Therefore, we are called to turn to Him and let His love lives and radiates through us. If we truly believe, desire, and will to speak and do everything in Him, through Him, and with Him, then we will definitely give life to everyone and every situation that we encounter. Even when the person or situation is hard to accept or to love at the time, we can still choose to speak the truth with charity or at least to pray for them. Even if we cannot do anything for a person or in a situation, we can always lift them up or choose to offer them to His loving grace. Our faith teaches and affirms that even though divine providence is mysterious and hard to understand a lot of times, we can trust and believe that God loves and continues to bring and guide everyone in the truth (for those who are willing to look and understand). Our faith teaches us that we can give life in so many ways but they all begin with allowing ourselves to be in His love. When we are in love, then we can radiate love in our words and actions. When we are in love with God, even if we get rejected, ignored, misunderstood, or even got hurt by others, we know that we can still choose love because He will never ever stop loving us. We continue to choose to love because He has loved us and will not abandon us. We choose to love because everyone, even ones that are hard to love, deserves to experience and allow love to change their lives. It can all begin with us!
I would like to leave you with St. Teresa of Calcutta‘s own words: “In the presence of hope, faith is born. In the presence of faith, love becomes a possibility. In the presence of love, miracles happen!” So, let us not be afraid. Let us choose to give love and life in everything that we do and say because we are the people of faith-filled love and hope.