The saying “sticks and stone may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” is one of the most erroneous statements ever voiced. In fact, the bible says that words can pierce as deep as a sword.
Proverbs 12:18 (NIV) The words of the reckless pierce like swords,
but the tongue of the wise brings healing.
Whoa! Words have a lot of power in relationships. Consider that the entire world was brought into existence by God’s word or consider the power of the words guilty or not guilty coming from a judge. Those words can change the entire trajectory of a person’s life.
Isn’t it amazing that of all the creatures God created only we are made in His image and only we are given the power of verbal communication. How do you use this powerful gift from God? He tells us we can choose to put down anger or stir it up with our words:
Proverbs 15:1 A gentle answer turns away wrath,
but harsh words stirs up anger.
We can choose to promote health and life in a person’s soul or we can destroy and wound:
Proverbs 12:6 (NLT)The words of the wicked are like a murderous ambush, but the words of the godly save lives.
Proverbs 18:21a (NLT) The tongue can bring death or life.
Do you choose words that build others up and benefit those listening? If someone overheard the words you use in your home would they know you are a Christian?
Ephesians 4:29(NLT) Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.
The sinner’s words are full of cursing and bitterness. Romans 3:14
We all have to deal with conflict in relationships; how do you communicate a truth someone does not want to hear in love and grace? When speaking a hard truth it is imperative the person being spoken to feels valued by you. If they do not feel valued they will feel attacked and become defensive; taking the focus off the real issue.
I asked Greg for some constructive criticism after one of my first interviews, and after he shared a couple of things with me I was ticked! But, as I thought about what he said he was right, and his motive for sharing with me was not to hurt me but to make me better (not to mention I did ask him for honest feedback). Those little tweaks made a big difference in my subsequent interviews, and I feel blessed he was brave enough to speak the truth to me.
I think one of the most important things we can do before we utter a word to someone is to ask ourselves if we would like to hear those words coming back at us.
Luke 6:31 (NLT) Do to others as you would like them to do to you.
Excerpt from Nourishments -Food for the Soul
Our conversations have a deep and lasting impact. Our words can affect others as much as our behavior. Words can cut and damage as deeply as a sword thrust into the soul. On the other hand, words can encourage and help others build up their lives in Christ. Do your words bring peace and clarity to listening ears? Our God is not a God of confusion but a God of clarity. Are others confused by your Christianity? Do you claim to love the Lord but speak as one who loves the world?
The Lord boldly proclaims Truth in His Word. Do your words proclaim His Truth? The gospel is Loving and full of Grace.
Do your words have worth? As a spokesman for Jesus, pray to speak in a manner worthy of your heavenly citizenship.