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.
Years ago, Debbie and I were out with another couple for a double date. This couple had been married for a number of years and had two kids. While we really liked them, we also noticed a major problem in their marriage: how poorly they communicated with each other. The words they spoke did not build each other up. Much of their conversation was negative, discouraging, and slightly demeaning. I think they had been communicating this way for so long that neither of them recognized they were doing it.
WHAT ABOUT YOU?
When is the last time you really took inventory of the things that come out of your mouth? Are you speaking words that build up or tear down? Do your words give grace or condemnation? Perhaps you remember this old schoolyard retort, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me.” Did you know that statement is a lie? Demeaning names and cutting words hurt people deeply—and they can inflict pain for a lifetime.
Proverbs 18:21 tells us, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” Our tongue may be small (about 3.9 inches long and 2.4 ounces in weight), but it is extremely powerful. Wise is the person who is “quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to anger.” (James 1:19). If we let our tongues loose in a heated moment, we can crush those we say we love. We can speak words we cannot take back, words that haunt their lives for years: “You’ll never amount to anything!” “I never loved you!” “I wish I never had you!” “You really are a loser!” “I hate you!”
SPEAK WORDS OF LIFE
Let me encourage you to discipline yourself to speak words filled with life, hope, grace and encouragement. Find things in your loved ones that they do well and praise them for those things. Encourage them in their strengths far more often than you ding them for their weaknesses. Let them regularly hear how proud you are of them and the wonderful things you see God doing in their lives!
Secondly, see people as God sees them—not who they are at the moment, but who they can become. Jesus gave Simon the name Peter, meaning a rock. Peter was far from “a rock” at the time of his name change, but he became a rock as the Lord worked in his life. Paint a verbal picture of what can become a reality if this person takes steps to press into Jesus.
I love the story of Joseph in Acts 4. He was such a great guy. Everyone wanted to be around Joseph because he always spoke words that built people up in the Lord. One day, the disciples told him they were going to change his name to Barnabas, a name meaning Son of Encouragement.
Make it your goal to be a son/daughter of encouragement. Give words of life and hope in the Lord to everyone you meet. You will be amazed at the power your life-giving words will have on their soul!
Pastor Jeff Schreve,
From His Heart Ministries
Dr. Jeff Schreve believes that no matter how badly you may have messed up in life, God still loves you and has a wonderful plan just for you. From His Heart provides real truth, love and hope on over 700 radio stations each day, in 182 countries each week on TV, and is always available online. Pastor Jeff takes no income from this ministry. All donations go to furthering the broadcast outreach. As a listener/viewer supported ministry, we thank you for joining with us to help speak the truth in love to a lost and hurting world. Go to www.fromhisheart.org for more information.