It’s been said, “The pen is mightier than the sword.” The sword is a weapon of warfare and by its very design is created to take life away; its an instrument of destruction. But the pen, on the other hand, by the very nature of its words, holds the power of life and death with in its grip.

The pen alone wills the power to become an instrument of encouragement and healing when held in the hand of a willing writer having the power to record words that give birth to life and the sword simply has no such power.

The pen has the power to write words that forever can change the course of a person’s life and speak to and direct the lives of future generations because unlike swords, written words survive indefinitely.

Sometimes life events can be so powerfully overwhelming and traumatic, beyond belief, it can feel as if there’s simply no way to verbalize underlying experiences. At times talking about certain events can feel more traumatizing than the events themselves. The swords of destruction can leave deep wounds and invisible scars that time alone simply does not possess the power to heal; nor does necessarily talking about it.

The human heart becomes the hiding place for these vastly untold war wounds and except for momentary glimpses not even those who harbor these untold hurts recognize they even exist within.

Over time the unaddressed wounds of the hurting heart can create a fracturing of the soul causing a person to become emotionally detached and removed from reality. The blows from the swords of life have left their affections in a suspended state of arrested development, a place where they continually become more and more unaware of their own personal feelings; as well as being clearly out of touch with others feelings. So many deeply hurting hearts wait for something to happen or changes and progress to occur without touching the actual causation of their underlying issues.

The pain of the past has blinded their hearts from seeing or experiencing what’s happening in the present moment and preventing them from forming any clear vision for the future.

How can the pen possibly express or wield power over such painful paralysis?

The power of the pen lies in its permission giving ability to transfer unspeakable feelings into permissible written words that consciously communicate an understanding of what’s actually causing the underlying internalized pain and hurt.

There is something cathartic about writing down deep feelings, but the true power of the pen comes from the innate understanding that is created by the words, rather than just the mere words themselves.

Understanding what is written empowers a person to begin the process of consciously making meaning out of their own internal madness, escaping the quiet prison of their own painful memories. It’s not only understanding and interpreting, for themselves, the pains that have imprisoned them, but learning how to externally express these newly written understandings in ways that make them have more and more meaning for life. Thus, it gives the heart permission to honestly express the reason it has felt the way it has and opens the way to writing new feelings that will be allowed to transcend the feelings which previously were thought to be indescribable.

Although they may have been unspeakable in terms of saying them out loud, the power of the pen gives these deepest and darkest feelings of the innermost expressions of the hurting human soul a free pass, a context outside the human heart to be reframed in a way that makes sense, creating a safe place where only those the writer invites will ever be allowed to entertain and engage the holy process of understanding and interpreting the magnitude of the most unspeakable feelings and deciphering what they really mean and how they will be allowed to shape the writer’s life into the very best version of themselves they are striving to become.

The pen truly is mightier than the sword, because it possess the power to unlock, set free and provide meaning to even the most woebegone soul. It’s a life-giving instrument capable of rewriting your story, acting as a healing balm to your heart and all the hearts with whom you share your writings.

And think about this quote from Anne Frank as you prepare to experience the power of the pen for yourself, “I can shake off everything as I write; my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn.”

Dr. T.J. Kimble of Radcliff is a clincal pastoral counselor. He can be reached at