The Power of a Woman’s Words
By Sharon Jaynes
The way we speak in this 21st century leaves much to be desired. Although the opportunity to communicate has never been as easy or accessible, the words we choose have lost the richness they once had. From mispronunciation to abbreviation our carelessly spoken words rarely promote encouragement or “building one another up.” Most often, if we are honest, we speak much more than we should about a subject we think is far too important: us.
Sharon Jayne’s’ “The Power of a Woman’s Words” seeks to encourage the reader to use this “building up” type of communication in our language. She includes numerous stories to demonstrate the way words help as well as how words hurt people. Each of the stories included are designed to help the reader see how she has used words inappropriately or could have expressed herself better. Just by sheer volume of the narratives, the reader is bound to see herself and realize she is lacking.
Ms. Jayne’s then explains the power of the words we speak and implies that they are sovereign. According to the author, our words are capable of:
changing the course of a life, “Perhaps as you’ve been reading about the power of a woman’s words and the incredible ability we have to change the course of a day or a life by the words we speak…”
creating life – physical as well as spiritual – both God and man, “Just as God used words to create physical life, our words can be the spark to generate spiritual life.”
showing others what they look like, “Our words become the mirror in which others see themselves”
saving man from eternal damnation (salvation), “Wow! It is with our mouth that we are saved!”
shaping a child’s heart, “..you (with your words) have the ability to shape a child’s heart for good or bad.”
helping a woman become the Proverbs 31 wife of noble character, “That’s the woman I want to be. My words have the power to make it so.”
This book emphasizes what words do for US; from beginning to end the focus is on man. There is little hint of the God-glorifying or God-pleasing motive to change our tone or speech.
Likewise missing in the book are some of the other things the Bible is concerned about in reference to our words. Gossip, for example, is not mentioned until page 199. Slander and lying are not mentioned at all. What little is said in reference to what God is concerned about regarding the tongue does not get mentioned until the end of the book (and without the same prominence as some inherently-powerful words get in the preceding chapters).
Miss Jayne’s also presents a view of God “speaking” that could be construed as continuing revelation. Distinct from illumination, this may be a Scripture-plus position. “Put the book down and talk to this girl, God seemed to say”; “God interrupted me while I was cooking dinner and told me to pray for you” are common.
The use of inaccurately interpreted scripture to substantiate the author’s thesis creates a problem at a fundamental level. Examples of this include, “Just as sin was ushered into the world through the words of Eve, salvation and hope was ushered into the world by the words of Mary.” “Her (Sarai’s) words resulted in the birth of Ishmael and the resulting conflict between the Arab and Jewish nations that still rages today.” “Job was a man who lost everything and yet he did not complain.”
The author presents an integrated perspective throughout her book, mixing some Biblical truth, behavior psychology (absent is a heart-change focus), pop culture truisms “hurting people hurt people” and “Christian” psychology, “You can only get your bucket filled by dipping out of your own and sharing the encouragement with others.”
Reformed readers will take issue not only with the assertion of a sovereign word apart from a Sovereign Creator but also the natural progression it takes, “Most people are drawn to Christ through cords of kindness formed in relationships with other people.”
Although the subject matter is worth looking at, a woman may walk away from “The Power of a Woman’s Words” and find she has little success changing her behavior apart from the truly powerful Word of God.