One of my new favorite songs is called “Words” by Hawk Nelson (with help from Bart Millard)
“They’ve made me feel like a prisoner
They’ve made me feel set free
They’ve made me feel like a criminal
Made me feel like a king
They’ve lifted my heart
To places I’ve never been
And they’ve dragged me down
Back to where I began
Words can build you up
Words can break you down
Start a fire in your heart
Or put it out”
I love it because it is so TRUE. WORDS are powerful.
“Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing to you O Lord, my rock and my redeemer” (Psalm 19:14)
Luke 6:45 “…What you say flows from what is in your heart.”
Matthew 12:34 “…Whatever is in your heart determines what you say.”
James 3:8 “…but no one can tame the tongue. It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison.”
“Timely advice is lovely, like golden apples in a silver basket.” (Prov 25:11)
“A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare.” (Proverbs 15:1)
“Some people make cutting remarks, but the words of the wise bring healing.” (Prov 12:18)
As it turns out, the Bible has quite a few words to say about our words.
One of my guilty pleasures is “reality” television. Dancing with the Stars (DWTS) and American Idol have captured my attention for several reasons.
On DWTS, Bruno captivates me.
For Idol, I am horrified by Simon.
More on them in a moment…
About the same time I started watching reality shows, I also joined my very first bible study. Beyond knowing what Christmas and Easter were basically about, biblical ideas were all new to me. We met Thursdays at 10 am in the church lobby and it was here I met Kelly, who I now call quotable Kelly—(QK).
Growing up poor and mostly in the Salvation Army, as a youth QK was rewarded with a case of soda for knowing her scriptures.
Because of this study and my desire to know more about Jesus, I got to know people I never would have interacted with. These ladies were outside of my circles of friends from work or my fellow weekend warriors. There was something different about QK especially. She had a different way of speaking: her tone was low, her eyes were sincere and these effects were paired up with piercing words she spoke—not piercing like stabbing knife pain, but piercing like tiny acupuncture needles.
We were studying a book by Joanna Weaver titled, “Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World.” I thought the study would be about having faith like the Virgin Mary in this “Martha Stewart” type world. How embarrassing. I guess I should have read the actual Bible for a Bible study. The bible story of the sisters Mary and Martha who hung out with Jesus, and who this whole book was about, was completely foreign to me. I almost quit the first day. My sister, not a biblical scholar herself, talked me out of this with her wisdom. She reminded me that God knows the heart. It isn’t all about what you know or can recite.
Biblical ignorance aside, not a single woman in that quiet church atrium ever judged me for my lack of knowledge or judged me about anything. All those ladies helped me through the study, showed me who Jesus was through their actions, prayed for me in my marriage AND in my divorce, and cried tears along with me at my father’s passing.
At times their words would sting, but I knew they were pointing out truth and knew they were speaking it in such a way that I heard them. Like those tiny acupuncture needles, the words brought healing to my life.
Now back to Bruno and Simon.
I absolutely love watching Bruno: his over-the-top mannerisms, his accent, his sweet face, his buoyant spirit…
My reaction to watching Simon is the complete opposite: his dismissive attitude, his scowling face, his spirit dampening words… Watching the faces of those he speaks to; it pains me to watch, however; I do love his accent!
I got to wondering why my reactions to these two men are so different. If I saw Bruno, I would hug him and ask him to share coffee or lunch and just sit and watch him talk. If I saw Simon, I would avoid him like an ex-boyfriend wearing a pink Speedo.
I look at these two people who, because of their talent, experience, money, or whatever are asked to be judges. They rate people. They give them feedback, instruction, and WORDS based on certain guidelines that lead to a rating of their conclusion and determine peoples’ futures.
While watching Bruno, besides loving his accent, his enthusiasm is contagious. He gets so excited for almost every single contestant. He will slowly rise out of his chair as the intensity of his words builds, “Oh Daaah-ling…it…was…fun-taastic! You have grown so much since you started.” He waves a hand out at the dancer. Tilting his head, “Your movements were delicious and flirtatious.” Now both his hands are helping his words and he is fully out of his chair and leaning across the judges’ table, “You were sssensual and ssssexy and ssssimply stunning!”
Even when he is giving a low mark, he will say something like, “You bring carnage and mayhem in everything you do, but it’s still a two-step.”(Actual quote taken from DWTS fan website). And yet, even when he gives a low mark, his words seem to be delivered with a salve. Sometimes he makes them feel good about getting the low mark! It mystifies me.
Check out some of his “mean” quotes:
“You looked slightly grumpy more than sexy.”
“It was a bit airy-fairy at times.”
“It’s like a samba from Zombietown. But Zombietown is a hit!”
“Good bum action. You learn how to use it and there’s no stopping you.”
“I know you enjoy the lower regions, but you have to bring the fluidity on the top.”
“You look like a crazy bear lost in a swamp.”
(Quotes compiled from the Dancing with the Stars Fan website)
“Gentle words are a tree of life; a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit.” (Prov 15:4)
Simon is another case entirely. It would appear he works from a “tough love” standpoint. Simon was quoted from the show once as saying, “I met someone the other night who’s 28 years old, and he hasn’t worked a day since he left college because he’s pursuing a dream he’ll never, ever realize: He thinks he’s a great singer. Actually, he’s crap.”
Here are a few more choice quotes of his: (Taken from Simon Cowell’s top 10 cut-downs by Martin Higgins)
“Your facial expressions are ugly… You are a beautiful girl but you’re ugly when you perform.”
“My advice would be if you want to pursue a career in the music business, don’t.”
“If you win this competition, we will have failed.”
“Let me throw a mathematical dilemma at you – there’s 500 left, well how come the odds of you winning are a million to one?”
“If you would be singing like this two thousand years ago, people would have stoned you.”
“You take singing lessons? Do you have a lawyer? Get a lawyer and sue your teacher.”
It’s painful to watch the crushing of spirits.
I mostly watch DWTS these days and limit my exposure to Simon’s shows.
Matthew 12:36 says, “I tell you this, you must give account on judgment day for every idle word you speak.” (Matthew 12:36)
Ephesians 4:14-15 tells us, “We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like truth. Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ…”
I figured out why I was drawn to QK’s words, besides the truth in them: she delivered them like Bruno, with a salve for the spirit. She delivered them like Christ, with more of what we all need—love.
May you always be able to speak your truth in love.