It so happens that this week I’ve received cards, letters, emails, and phone calls that really have made my week. The words were encouraging and uplifting to me. Hearing the words made me feel joyful, confident, hopeful, and loved. Can you remember times in your life when unexpectedly, someone offered a word of sincere compliment or encouragement to you? Doesn’t it lighten your heart? Don’t you hope that such words will come your way again?
Does God have anything to say about our words? Oh, yes! He says some wonderful, helpful things about our words to each other, such as:
“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.” James 1:19
“Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.” Colossians 4:6
“A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.” Proverbs 25:11
“Pleasant words are as honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.” Proverbs 16:24
I remember something very wise my mother would often say to my sister and me in our childhood: “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” I also remember a rhyme that children would say. (perhaps they still do) “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.” How foolish and incorrect is that statement but we can overlook it when we know it’s a child’s immature understanding. The dismay comes when we realize that adults still take on such childish and foolish talk.
Words do indeed hurt. How lovely to know they also heal. They can destroy and they can build up. They can cause pain or gladness. They spread lies or truth. They point to evil or they point to godliness. They are filled with love or hate.
Let us take time each day to ask Father to bless the words of our mouths that we may speak as Jesus would. Many of us have read the popular book, “What Would Jesus Do?” Let us also ask ourselves before speaking, “What would Jesus say?”