JANUARY 6

The Power of Words

Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification. EPHESIANS 4:29

Kids today take "keyboarding" rather than typing, but when I was young, we learned to type on actual typewriters. In high school I struggled in my typing class, but I made a great discovery: If I could type 60 words a minute, even with 15 errors, I would get an A in speed and an F in accuracy. Round those together, and that would give me a C for the class. I could live with that.

But my gray-haired typing teacher, Mrs. Whittington, didn't like my logic.

Or my behavior. And one day in front of the whole class—exasperated with me over something I'd done—she pointed her very boney finger at me and said, "Dennis Rainey, you will never amount to anything."

I'm sure before the day was out, she forgot her comment. But I never forgot it. And when I graduated from college, I drove over to her house and rang her doorbell. When she came to the door, I said (kindly), "Hi, Mrs. Whittington, I'm Dennis Rainey. I wanted you to know that I just graduated from college and am getting ready to go into full-time Christian ministry."

In other words, "I'm going to amount to something, in spite of what you said." I'm sure she wondered why in the world I came to her house to tell her that!

Now, should I have done that? Probably not. But words can hurt. They go deep and leave a mark, for good or for bad.

That's why Paul instructed us to use our words for edification—to build up, to strengthen, to lighten the load of another, to give someone the heart to match the need of the moment. He wasn't talking about flattery, or false praise, but about speaking words of support and encouragement.

Because when we're not building each other up, we're probably tearing each other down.

DISCUSS

Share an example of something encouraging your spouse said to you once that you've never forgotten. Talk about how that made you feel.

PRAY

Pray that your hearts will be filled with grace and that grace-filled words will follow.

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