by Neil Anderson
THE PROPER USE OF WORDS
Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, that it may give grace to those who hear.
How do we express our perceptions of people? Primarily by what we say to them. Studies have shown that in the average home, for every positive statement, a child receives 10 negative statements. The school environment is only slightly better; students hear seven negative statements from their teachers for every one positive statement. No wonder so many children are growing up feeling they are losers. Parents and teachers are conveying that perception every day in how they talk to their children.
These studies go on to point out that it takes four positive statements to negate the effect of one negative statement. You probably verify that finding every time you wear a new suit or dress. A number of your friends may say, "Oh, what a good-looking outfit." But it only takes one comment like "It's really not you" to send you scurrying back to the store for a refund. We affect others significantly by what we say about them, and what we say is significantly determined by how we perceive them.
If we could memorize just one verse from the New Testament, put it into practice and never violate it, I believe we would resolve half to three-fourths of the problems in our homes and churches. The verse is Ephesians 4:29. Isn't it amazing that you and I have the power to give grace to others through the proper use of our words? If we said nothing to put others down, and only built up others as Ephesians 4:29 commands, we would be part of God's construction crew in the church instead of members of Satan's wrecking crew.
Prayer: Father, I know my tongue is capable of blessing or cursing others. Guard my words today so I may edify others through what I say.
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