As a wife, daughter, sister, friend, aunt, and fellow human being I cannot afford to be careless with my own words. Lately, I have been keenly aware of how words really do produce either life or death (Proverbs 18:21). This truth must raise us to a higher standard. We must learn to use few but powerful and true words, especially as believers in a lost dark world. This is one of my greatest struggles and I am guessing it maybe one of yours too.
A few nights ago Mike and I had the rare privilege of double dating with my brother-in-law and sister-in-law. Before our date we stopped by their house and as we entered their quaint townhome we were greeted by our two nieces and two nephews. Squeals and giggles quickly filled the atmosphere as they gave us huge hugs and sloppy-wet kisses. Mike and I soaked up every minute of it and attempted to equally match their excitement. As my three-year-old niece grabbed my hand and led me upstairs to show me her newest creation, I lavished her with compliments on her beautiful dress and freshly painted nails. Beaming with joy she proudly showed me her new dollhouse, and I quickly responded with equal joy and raved about how much I loved it. As we walked back down the steps, I could see Mike twirling my other niece around telling her how beautiful she looked in her new dress. Her smile was priceless.
As we left that evening I began to ponder the extreme weight our words carry. Our interaction with our nieces and nephews could have gone very differently, if Mike and I had entered the house with negative words and had refused to see any of their new toys and tricks. We could have deeply wounded them and our relationship with them. Instead our words brought life and drew out even more joy and excitement. We added value and identity to their lives in one simple interaction.
Stewarding Our Words
I wonder what would happen if we stewarded our words in such a way that they brought forth blessing and honor. What would the world look like? What dreams would we unlock in each other? What sense of hope and courage might they bring forth?
God’s words took a formless, dark, and empty world and formed it, and filled it with life. Are our words bringing life or death? Are we allowing God to move through us to bring life into others?
“We praise our Lord and Father with it, and we curse men who are made in God’s likeness with it. Praising and cursing come out of the same mouth. My brothers, these things should not be this way” (James 3:9-10).
The Tongue that Heals the Tongue that Breaks
“The tongue that heals is a tree of life, but a devious tongue breaks the spirit” (Proverbs 15:4).
Words bring hope.
Words cut to your heart and open deep wells of disappointment.
Words pull out destiny.
Words cause separation and division.
In an instant a word can injure a relationship or cause hope to come to a situation.
Words have the power to change the course of someone’s life, and yet they are used so lightly.
Maybe just today you mismanaged your words. Or maybe you used your words wisely to speak truth over a helpless situation.
We have to ask ourselves: Are we missing it?
Have we as God’s people, who live in a high-paced crazy culture missing it for ourselves and for others?
I believe the only way to steward our words and bring forth life and encouragement to others, is to remember that communication is not only the ability to talk but to listen.
The Key is in Listening
Are we so bogged down with life-draining commitments that we’ve forgotten to cup our hands to our ear and listen for what heaven is saying over others?
Words are aligned with our listening to the still small voice of the Holy Spirit. Jesus invites us to live as joyful, secure, expectant people who respond to the nudges of the Holy Spirit, and then spiritual atmosphere changes.
When we miss listening to what is written in heaven, others miss out on something God intended to give them through us. We need to get our eyes off ourselves and onto the world around us. Heaven is speaking and we are the vessels it is released through.
Father God, thank you for allowing us to be a small piece in your big picture through communication. I ask that you would do a deeper work within us to listen to what Heaven says about others. We long to be a true servant to others and and bring glory to you through our words. Forgive us for any judgmental words that have attacked the character of others, rather than loving them. When we hear your spirit speak give us the grace to release the word over others. Help us not to miss the opportunities you give us to speak life and encouragement over others. We choose to use our words to honor others, speaking only words that you would want to speak. Guard our lips and let us speak only wisdom. Give us deeper revelation into how our words shape the destiny of others.
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