“Be sure to taste your words before you spit them out.” – Anonymous
Words are powerful. They have the power to bring life or the power to bring death to a soul. We have all been victims of careless words. I still remember a day on the school bus when I overheard a couple of boys “grading” houses and property. My house was not worth anything in their eyes; only my dog had value. Those words were not said directly to me, but they had an impact. I was self-conscious and felt like I was somehow less of a person because my earthly dwelling was not good enough in their eyes. We have all used our words — whether intentionally or unintentionally — to tear someone down. Years ago, I had a coworker who drove me crazy. It was easy to gossip about her with another coworker. I never would have spoken those words to her face, yet I freely tore her down behind her back. My words were certainly poisonous and soul-killing.
Words also have the power to build up and heal. I can think of times when I’ve said something encouraging to one of my children and have seen their faces light up with joy. It doesn’t have to be something profound, just a simple statement can show others that you love and care for them. Thanking your spouse for her hard work for your family, telling your child that you are proud of him, telling a coworker that they did a great job on a project you were working on together – these are all simple examples of how an appropriately chosen word can bring life to a tired or hurting soul.
The authors of Proverbs knew of the power of words. This book is peppered with wisdom on how to use words to build others up. At the Whitehouse Campus this weekend, Chad Schramm spoke on a proverb that emphasizes the power of words by encouraging us to add value to the lives of others through your words.
Kind words are like honey, sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.
My kids love honey. We occasionally give them a spoonful of honey when they have a cough. It’s amazing how one kid coughing can quickly become four kids coughing when honey is involved. The same can be generalized to our words. When we say something kind to one person, others want to be near us. Our words should be used to add value to the lives of others, not to tear them down. As the quote at the beginning states, “Taste your words before you spit them out.” If they are sweet like honey, let them pour out; if they are bitter, keep them to yourself.
How often do the words you say to others bring life? How often do they bring hurt?
Do you speak life-giving words to yourself?
The next time you are tempted to say something negative, stop and think about how your words will be received. If they do not bring life, keep them to yourself. Make it a point today to say at least one nice thing to those closest to you.
Dear God, thank you for giving me constant reminders through your Scripture on the power of my words. Thank you for giving me vivid examples of how what we say affects others. Help me to use my words to build others up. Help me keep silent when my words will tear others down. Amen.
This post was written by Julie Mabus. Julie Mabus is a writer with the LivingItOut Bible Study. She has a passion for thinking about big ideas, art, reading, and seeing God reveal himself through creation. She is married and is homeschooling her four young children.
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