Healing Words


Two words we are often told to use are “please” and “thank you.” I would like to put forward an idea that we should avoid “always” and “never”.

Jesus taught us to be kind to each other. He taught us to forgive each other. He wants us to live in peace.

That is why he told us to tell the truth. Telling the truth – the pure truth – must be done kindly. If we think that we tell the truth, but include a hurtful comment or tell it in such a way to either uplift ourselves or condemn another, then we have not spoken the truth the way Jesus taught us to tell it. He taught us that we should not judge others, lest we be judged in the same way. He taught us that whatever we do to anyone else, we have done it to him.

Imagine if everyone you spoke to, everyone you interacted with, was Jesus Christ. That we are all disguised most of the time, but on each occasion we say or do something, the person we speak to or do something to suddenly becomes Jesus Christ. Would that change what we were about to say, to change what we were about to do? Imagine my situation with that mental exercise – I could be delivering this talk to a chapel with multiple instances of the Savior. If I intended to say something harsh, I would be greatly stressed and worried, full of the desire to repent. But if I keep my words kind and speak a message of peace, then I have no stress or worry – I could hope for no better audience than one with my Elder Brother, the Beloved of the Father, even Jesus Christ.

So how do we speak the truth in a manner befitting an audience of our Savior? I would say that statements or conversations containing certain words can wreck the truth. I must say these words in order to identify them, but I want to assure one and all that these are not directed at any person or persons. Those words that can wreck the truth are “you always” and “you never”. Statements using those words will misstate both the frequency and the intention to the audience, prompting a stressed, upset response.

Better to change the you-statements to I-statements. I know how I feel every time I feel something. I can only guess at the thoughts in the mind of the “you” that I may address. Stating my feelings that arise out of another’s action are a truth and they do not challenge the other person negatively if the action is stated simply, without judgmental words. “I feel uncomfortable when you say my name incorrectly” is an example of an I-statement that speaks a truth. It prompts not a stressed, urgent response, but a concerned, motivated response. When I hear someone else say that, I invoke my resources of humility and ask for a correction. Once learned, I strive to not repeat the thing that stresses another person. With the I-statements and a humble response, we are on the path of peace.

This does not guarantee that the person we speak with will have a rational or peaceful response to what we say, but it does provide the best chance of such. The path of peace is also a path of patience. It is a path of forgiveness. It is a path where we see the other person, regardless of what they have said or done, as a child of Heavenly Father, a divine sibling that needs our prayers to help them overcome the darkness that might be in their lives that keeps them from something better.


Violence is possible with words, feelings, and thoughts. It is not limited to physical acts. Words do hurt, and a growing body of medical research indicates that hurtful words and stressful situations can have impacts on generations of people whose ancestor may have suffered greatly – or who caused others to suffer greatly – or, as is sadly often the case, both suffered and caused suffering.

Jesus Christ suffered for us all, and in Him we have healing. Let us always think of suffering with the hope of healing. The blows we suffer, physical, verbal, and emotional, cause stress responses in our bodies. Constant negativity produces not only a change in mental state, but introduces stresses and structural issues in one’s own body parts and cells that can lead to physical breakdowns, diseases, cancers, and death. Peaceful, kind words spoken out of Christlike love can have the opposite effect. “Miraculous cure” is a pair of words often associated with a patient who found a better way.

The journey away from stress and hurt involves work, but it is good work. The first part of the work is always within. Are we forgiving ourselves for our mistakes? Are we choosing to take a few moments to respond when we are suddenly confronted? Are we seeking comfort in prayer, scripture study, fasting, and meeting together with like believers often? Are we giving ourselves permission to speak honest, kind truth about our suffering to those who do care about us?

A lie frequently told is, “I’m fine.” A casual passer-by may not care for details or be equipped to deal with a sudden unloading of emotional baggage, but at the same time, one should not feel trapped by the rules of polite conversation. If we aren’t feeling fine, we can still respond to a casual “How are you doing?” with a statement about something we’re grateful for. “I’m happy to see the sun out today.” “I’m glad I’m not running late.” “Looking forward to the weekend.” Expressing gratitude has the benefits of healing our inner stress with a happy truth as well as possibly making a connection, however brief, with that well-wishing passer-by with something that that person is also thankful for. Shared happiness is the best happiness, and it can be done with a simple expression of gratitude.

For those we see more frequently, “I’m fine” is a mask for our pains. And for those we see more frequently who ask how we’re doing, they truly do want to know if we’re in need of a prayer, a kind word, an act of service, anything that they’re willing to provide out of their own Christlike love. Remember the sudden Savior-ness of the person we speak with: how many of us would tell Jesus Christ, “no, I’m fine”, when He offers us salvation, healing, and happiness? Then when the least of these, our brethren, offer the same to us, let us partake.

“I don’t want to be a burden.” “I wouldn’t think to ask.” “I can make it on my own.” Are these truths or are they lies we are taught by the world to say so that we don’t seem weak? If we tell lies to not seem weak, we weaken ourselves. Jesus Christ wants to share our burdens, He wants us to ask, He wants to join us in the journeys of our lives, and He sends His followers to stand in His place in our lives. When we share our burdens, when we ask, when we journey with others, we become a gathering in the name of Jesus Christ, and His presence is among us.

When I started this section out about the violence of words, emotions, and thoughts, I had in my own mind those originating from others, but in thinking of Jesus Christ and His healing, I turned within and saw plenty in myself that was my own violence, directed inwardly. I see even more the wisdom in not worrying about what’s in someone else’s eye when I have so much obstruction in my own. Walking up to someone to solve a problem they are not asking me to solve is a terrible error. But being invited by someone to help them with something is an opportunity to both receive and give blessings, to multiply the love and goodness in the world.

We believe in sharing burdens and in mourning with those who mourn. Walking the path of peace with the Savior means we offer ourselves to share in suffering in order that it might be healed. And when we refuse or push aside offers of help when we so clearly need it, we bring needless worry and concern to those who love us, who are wanting to give us the help we need. What help would you ask for from the Savior? Then pray about it, and go and ask that help from family, friends, the Relief Society, and the Bishop, as appropriate. In so doing, we let the Savior send us love, peace, and healing in the way He wants to send it to us, through His servants.


What about others? What if we are in a situation of abuse, of constant stress and hurt? The best answer is to not remain alone. Seek professional help and guidance. There are people who have much more skill and knowledge in helping others who can provide you with answers. If I want to learn more Math, I won’t do it by signing up for a course in History. I’ll go to a Math professor. If I am in a serious condition, letting my friends and family know is part of the healing process that goes along with seeking a professional to help me through that dark night of the soul.

I facilitate the Emotional Resilience class. There are many times when, in the course of discussion, I am required to read statements to that effect. They are as much for me as for anyone else participating in the course. I do not teach it, I only facilitate attendees as they teach themselves and each other. But we only teach ourselves so much – should there be something more serious, we need help from one more wise. Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, in their wisdom, have given us much knowledge that we are taught to use to serve each other even as They would.

Emotional Resilience is not in-depth counseling. It is not group therapy. It is learning about our humanity. It is about being more Christlike in how we think, act, and feel, yes to others but more importantly to ourselves. It is about recognizing signs when our lives are out of balance and guiding us in what we can do to restore balance. It neither starts nor ends our spiritual journey, but it most certainly helps us along the way. The Emotional Resilience class is about recognizing the obstructions in our own eyes and the work we need to do in order to clear them out. The class is for both those who serve and those who lead. It is for anyone who follows the Savior, Jesus Christ, who is serious about taking up the invitation he gave to “Come, follow me.”

Above all, Emotional Resilience is about having more truth, love, and peace in one’s life. Healing ourselves is as important a part of becoming more Christlike as anything else we are asked to do. In healing ourselves, we then unlock the thoughts and prayers needed to then go and heal others, to help others to heal themselves, and, by the great web of connections that unites us all in Christ, to heal the people of the world, one and all.

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