Rachel Hauck

Best-selling author and award winning author Rachel Hauck lives in central Florida with her husband and loving pets. She earned a B.A. degree in Journalism from Ohio State University and spent seventeen years in the corporate software world before leaving to write full time. Rachel loves to teach and mentor writers.

She is a Book Therapist at www.MyBookTherapy.com, a daily craft blog and community for writers. In the past, Rachel is the president of American Christian Fiction Writers and now servers on the Advisor Board. Visit her blog and web site at www.rachelhauck.com.

Dodging Raindrops

The Power Of The Tongue

Words mean things. We like to think they don’t, really, because sarcasm is so snappy and funny (when it’s aimed at someone else).

The American sitcom is nothing but barbs and quips. And often the offended character merely bats the insult down with a wave of the hand and walks out of the room. Later, at the coffee house, pizza joint, or in the bedroom, all is well.

But words settle deep. Put-downs, criticism, and even some kinds of teasing can cling to the heart’s inner wall.

Twice a week I attend a spinning class at the gym. Over time, the regulars have become friendly, and we like to joke around. It’s a good group.

But one of the men, John, started giving me a hard time about my yawning. I’d dash into class, hop on my bike, muscles stiff, mind cloudy from a day of writing and weeding through character development, and proceed to yawn my way through warm-up.

“Are you going to yawn, Rachel?”

I tried not to yawn, but I did, and John announced it to the class.

“There she goes, yawning.”

At first, it was fun. Then annoying. And finally one day John layered in the “brutal” element and hurt my feelings. I don’t offend easily, but his tone spiked his words into my heart.

After that, I ignored him. I set up my spin bike on the other side of the workout room and greeted him only if he crossed my plane of vision.

A few weeks went by and we became friendly again. He stopped teasing me if I yawned.

But here’s the irony. One day our instructor teased him about the way he set up his bike for class. I laughed. And the Lord pricked my heart.

In that moment, the eyes of my heart opened and I knew John had been wounded by teasing. I apologized to him.

“Forget it,” he said. “I’ve been teased my whole life.”

Bingo. His own pain became my pain the day his words stung my heart. I felt what he’d felt many times as he was teased and picked on.

Wounded people often wound. In the brief moment I had a glimpse of John’s heart, I understood God’s heart for him. And for me.

I wasn’t in any way to add to John’s inner wounds or hurt, even with a small echoing laugh.

Scripture says Jesus won’t even step on a bruised reed. The apostle James reminds us of the great turmoil our tongues can cause.

In this life, we pursue many temporal things. New shoes. New cars. A publishing career. And God delights in giving us these things.

But there are some eternal commodities we can take with us into the Age to Come. What we do with our time, our money and our words.

I live in a world of words. Most of the year I’m aiming to write two thousand words a day. If I’m not drafting a novel, I’m

blogging, tweeting, or writing e-mails. I’m constantly reminded of the power of letters strung together.

God spoke and the world was created. Curses alight by the spoken word. Isaiah writes, “No weapon formed against you will prosper, and every tongue that accuses you in judgment, you will condemn” (author’s paraphrase and emphasis).

We’ve all been accused and judged. We’ve been exhorted and encouraged. As a writer, I want my words to mean things to the reader, to touch a hidden place in their hearts with truth and hope.

If God urges me to exhort others, I don’t want my words to be idle or vacant of unction. I want them to touch the core of their souls.

This was God’s challenge to me: If you want to speak for Me, and have your words count, then they will count all the time. Not just when you want them to, but every idle word will have weight.”

I’ve spent a lot of years trying to live out this invitation. Offered many prayers of repentance.

I’m reminded of God’s heart toward us when I meet people like John. Now I can encourage him, even in small ways, and know my words have weight and meaning.

God loves John. With words. So should I.

How about you? Are you guarding your words? Speaking kindly to your spouse and children, your friends and family? Or are you tearing down with sarcasm, barbs, and teasing?

I love a good joke. I love to laugh. I love to tease and be teased, but not at the expense of my own soul or that of others. I still mess up, say the wrong thing. But I am praising God for the life He’s given us in the power of the tongue.

The world is a hurting place. Let’s not be a part of tearing down what God means to edify.


Love Starts With Elle