Words matter. They can wound or they can heal. They can tear down or they can build up. How we talk to those we love and even those we don’t can have a huge impact to those we are speaking to and those around us listening. Many times scripture tells the power of words, yet it seems that as a society we try to dismiss their impact by making everything a joke.
Many years ago I knew a woman who talked all summer long about how she couldn’t wait for school to start again so that her kids would be out of her hair. She would talk about how they were always underfoot, driving her crazy, leaving their toys laying around, and that she thought she would go insane if they weren’t back in school soon. She said all of this in front of her children. It was as if she thought they couldn’t hear her or that her words wouldn’t impact them. My heart always hurt for her children when she would say such things. I wanted to say something to her to make her see, but I didn’t. I’m ashamed I didn’t.
I understood their pain because I had lived it. I grew up hearing things like quitter, loud mouth, and many other words and phrases. A child needs to feel unconditional love from a parent. Now that doesn’t mean that you don’t correct & discipline; scripture tells us to not discipline our child is to hate them. But how do you do it? Do you say things like, “I can’t believe you would do something so stupid!” Some people would justify this statement by saying they didn’t call their child stupid, but the reality is they did. The child knows it and is hurt by it.
Wife, when your husband walks up behind you when you are talking to friends and overhears you talking about him, what does he hear? Does he hear complaints that he plays too much golf, watches too much football, or hasn’t done what you feel is needed around the house? Or does he hear you praising him for being the man that God gifted you with in spite of all of his flaws? As wives we need to be lifting up our husbands, not tearing them down. What uplifting words of love do we shower on our husbands? Because men don’t often share their feelings, we can mistakenly think that our words don’t impact them as greatly as their words impact us. With a very few well placed words we can make our husbands feel like a failure. I have done this more times than I can count, much to my shame
The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. Luke 6:45
What do people on the outside of your conversations take away from the words you are using? Do they see Christ in you? What about grace, mercy or compassion? Are your words often angry and snappy? What does that say? When you are under stress do you forget to be kind and let the stress take over? I know I can. We need to strive for better. We need to remember that our words are a testimony to the goodness of Christ. A verse that sticks with me often, and plays in my head when I blow it is, “out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks”.
Words. Let us strive to make them life-giving, encouraging, loving, compassionate, full of grace, uplifting, and healing.