Proverbs 25:11 – A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver.
How are your words lately?
Kind, loving, true, hopeful, healing, affirming? Intentional, inspiring, uplifting?
Hateful, hurtful, spiteful, careless, mean? Stinging, abusive, discouraging, destroying, judgemental?
Words are so important. There are gentle and encouraging words. Life-giving words. And there are crushing and unpleasant words that tear down and even alter the course of a person’s life. Proverbs 18:21 says that death and life are in the power of the tongue. Another verse in Proverbs says that a soothing tongue is a tree of life, but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit. Wow! What power there is in the words that we speak to others.
- Words impact our children
I read once that if you tell a child they are mean or rebellious, they will set out to prove it is true. Make sure that you are speaking words of truth and life into them so that they will want to prove the positive rather than the negative. I used to tell my kids that they were driving me crazy. That phrase was mostly said in jest, but one particularly rough day, my little girl apologized for driving me crazy when I didn’t even say it. I didn’t want my kids to believe those words, just to stop whatever it was they were doing. Words of correction and direction need to be loving no matter what the situation.
- Words impact our spouses
Oh, how our husbands need our affirmation and encouragement. Even if they aren’t the best at something, or if they may not be what you thought they were when you married them, don’t let them hear you tear them down or compare them to others. Maybe the kind and affirming word you speak to them will dispel the negative things they have believed about themselves from someone else’s ugly words. Marriages are torn apart by careless words. Good marriages are strengthened by words of respect and love and forgiveness.
- Words impact everyone around us
There are people all around us, every single day, who never get a word of affirmation or love or affection. They never hear that they are cared for or loved or that they are important. Or that they are beautiful and that they matter. Be intentional in what you say to people you encounter as you move about your daily life. It only takes a few seconds to smile and speak to someone. Don’t you just feel so good when someone else just smiles at you and tells you to have a blessed day?
We should be careful with our words because Jesus takes our words very seriously. In Matthew 12:36, he said that on the day of judgement, we will give an account of every careless word. That tells us that we need to pay attention to every word. Speak words of truth to people from God’s word. What better words are there than the kind and loving words that our gentle Savior speaks to us through HIS WORD? Even when we disagree with someone, our words need not be harsh and hateful. I’m so thankful for our sweet Savior’s love and mercy and forgiveness when I think about the times my words have wounded another.
Many years ago I heard Florence Littauer share about the impact of the words that we speak. She said that our words should be “like a little silver box with a bow on top”. That’s how I want my words to be. Encouraging and true. A gift. I don’t want my words to cause pain for others. Once the words are spoken, they can’t be taken back. Florence’s words had an impact on me all those years ago and I still tear up to this day when I hear her message. You can hear her powerful “Silver Box” message here.
“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” Ephesians 4:29