The Power of the Tongue – I Said This, You Heard That.

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When you see the doctor, the first thing he or she does is check your tongue. Sometimes, the illness can be diagnosed   by looking at it alone. How we speak reveals a lot about us—the country where we live, our jobs, our values, and our lives’ purpose.

Author Betty Eadie wrote: “If we understood the power of our thoughts, we would guard them more closely. If we understood the awesome power of our words, we would prefer silence to almost anything negative. In our thoughts and words, we create our own weaknesses and our own strengths. Our limitations and joys begin in our hearts. We can always replace negative with positive.”

If we want our tongues to be right, then our inner person must be under the control of Jesus Christ. Jesus said, “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” (Luke 6:45 ESV). Whatever fills our heart inevitably comes out.

God can control our tongues through the Holy Spirit so that we can bless, encourage, build, and give blessing to others through our words.

Proverbs 11:9

With their words, the godless destroy their friends, but knowledge will rescue the righteous.

One identifying mark of  hypocrites is that they destroy people with their words. Sincere love looks to build others up, not to destroy them. Remember the old children’s saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me”? The hurtful words we speak can create scars that last longer than any physical scar that sticks and stones may cause.

Proverbs 15:4
Gentle words are a tree of life; a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit.

Words can destroy or words can heal; a wholesome tongue speaks words of hope and life, not death.

Proverbs 18:21    
The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences.

The greatest good and the greatest harm are in the power of the tongue, you choose the words you use.

An article I recently read called the “Tongue: Our Tool of Power” articulates some truths about our tongues that are worth sharing.

God created in man the ability to communicate with the spoken word. He gave us the tongue as a tool to use to speak with each other. It enables us to tell each other how we feel and what we think, as well as to convey words of wisdom, hope, encouragement, and love.

He gave us the ability to worship him in speech, to communicate his laws and his ways. This gift from God is all too often used by Satan for his own plans. At every opportunity, he tries to create stumbling blocks for God’s people by ruining their relationships with family, friends, and fellow believers.

But in the book of Romans we read: “Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister” (Romans 14:13 NIV).

In tough times of uncertainty, we can find ourselves speaking negative words towards others. I believe God desires us to be different though. We can be by taking time no matter the circumstance to encourage one another.

Questions:
What does your tongue reveal about you? What fills your heart? Have you ever asked the Holy Spirit to take control of your tongue? Ask yourself, “How can I let love lead and choose the words that I use?”

Next Steps:
Fill your heart with grace by reading and memorizing Scripture, joining a life group, surrounding yourself with and supporting other believers in Christ.

Prayer:
Abba Father, “Set a guard over my mouth, Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips.” (Psalm 141:3 NIV). I pray that  the words that I use be transparent and honest so that I can be an appropriate reflection of you. I pray against thoughts of lying, malicious talk, or any other negative use of words, because speech was not given for me to abuse. Instead let me build up others with words that come from you. Amen.


This post was written by Gary Schnabel, a regular contributor to the LivingItOut Bible Study.


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Building with Our Words – I Said This, You Heard That.

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I love to play the phone game “Words With Friends.” In fact, I probably spend too much time playing games or scrolling through social media when my time might be better spent engaging in authentic relationships. I could blame this on my solitary upbringing as an only child, my education in computers, my work experience in databases and data analysis, my deceased mother’s health issues, the isolation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, or just me! Truthfully, taking the temperament assessment has helped me realize it is probably a combination of “all of the above.”

Lead Pastor Ben Synder kicked off a new series called I Said This, You Heard That. It is a fun and practical series that can help improve the health of our relationships. The Bottom Line is, “You Choose the Words You Use.”

One of the best ways to improve our relationships is to choose words that are healthy and build others up. My favorite author, Theodor Geisel, gives us a great example of what this looks like through the words that he used in one of my favorite books:

Oh, The Places You’ll Go, by Theodor Geisel

It begins with:
Congratulations!
Today is your day,
You’re off to Great Places
You’re off and away!

And ends with:
And will you succeed?
Yes, you will, indeed
(98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed)

You may know the author, Theodor Geisel, better as Dr. Seuss! His choice of words are helpful, encouraging, build up others, and help us realize that choosing our words is up to us. Each day, we have an opportunity to build up others just like the Apostle Paul encourages us to do.

Ephesians 4:29 NIV
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

Questions:
If you haven’t taken the temperament assessment, take a few moments today to complete it. You can access it by texting “colors” to 419-419-0707.

Next Steps:
Think about how your temperament determines your word choice and how those words influence others. Reflect on how you could do better choosing your words to build up others!

Prayer:
Dear heavenly Father, thank you for giving me your Word. May I use it to do better. Help me to better choose my words, focusing on words to build up others! In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.


This post was written by Pam Haynam. Pam is a writer for the LivingItOut Bible Study and a cook for the weekend worship band. She has a passion for education having served her community on a district school board and is currently serving on a board that sponsors charter schools across the state. She and her husband have three grown children, a daughter-in-law, a son-in-law, and four (soon to be five) grandsons.


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Choosing Encouraging Words – I Said This, You Heard That.

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I have four siblings, and none of us are considered “short on words.” Sometimes it’s great, and we all nicely take turns talking … but that rarely happens. We talk over each other whenever we can find the time to shout a few sentences. Sometimes we find ourselves yelling at people right next to us. We are only concerned with what we are saying. We want to be the only one defending, asking, or telling, and we expect everyone else to listen to us. All of us are left feeling exhausted from trying to be heard.

Last weekend, Lead Pastor Ben Snyder acknowledged that while we’re inclined to choose words that will benefit ourselves, we need to choose words that are helpful for others.

Ephesians 4:29
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 (emphasis added).

When I use words for my own benefit, I get worn out trying to make sure everyone hears me. But when I use kind and encouraging words, my actions not only help those around me but also fill me with hope and healing.

Shortly before Jesus was arrested, he spoke with his disciples and followers. Jesus knew that he would be killed soon, but instead of putting pain and fear into his words, he used them to uplift his disciples. Jesus knew that they would also face struggles, so he blessed and prayed for them. He didn’t stretch the truth or make everything seem alright. He used his words to bring peace and courage to his followers’ hearts.  

John 16:33
I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.

Jesus, the perfect example, chose his words to build up his disciples. He could have easily dominated the conversation by scolding or complaining to his followers. Instead, he chose to meet their needs with his words.

Let us follow suit, choosing words to encourage others!

Questions:
How does it feel when someone uses their words to encourage you? How does it feel when you inspire others with your words? Who can you uplift with your words, today?

Next Steps:

Think about the people in your life who could use a little support or cheering up. Next time you see them, give them a compliment or tell them that you are praying for them. Every time you find yourself trying to use words for your own benefit, pause and try to use them to help others instead.

Prayer:
Father God, you are the Creator of everything, including the words I speak. Help me to use my words to draw people to you and to glorify your name. You see how easily I get caught in using words for my own good. Remind me to choose words that will meet the needs of others. In your name, amen.


This post was written by Lydia Snyder. Lydia has been a story-lover for as long as she can remember, often found reading books or writing. She is thrilled to be making a difference by inspiring others to take part in the best story ever – God’s story. Lydia lives with her three wonderful siblings and two amazing parents.


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That’s Not Helpful – I Said This, You Heard That.

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I was a benchwarmer on my high school basketball team. I was not very good, but I enjoyed being part of a team and being with my friends. During my senior year, my team should have been amazing. We were experienced, and half of the girls on the team were almost 6 feet tall or taller. However, we were terrible and only won a handful of games the entire year.

We were heartbroken after losing a coach we all adored to a sudden heart attack. The man they picked to replace him showed great promise. He had led multiple boys’ teams to state. Apparently, he was a great boys’ coach, but he didn’t know how to coach or motivate girls. He was always yelling at us and telling us how terrible we were. Nothing he said was positive. I’m not sure how boys are motivated, but I know yelling and demeaning girls does not work. The words he chose defeated us more than any of our opponents could have, and our record reflected it.

Ephesians 4:29 NIV      
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen (emphasis added).

The words we use affect those around us. When I think back to my childhood, some of my most vivid memories are when someone said something unkind to me. Those words have a habit of sticking in your mind and soul. How many times has your soul been crushed by the words of a loved one, a friend, or even a stranger?

Paul is exhorting the church in Ephesus, and us, to “not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouth.” What does he mean by “unwholesome”?

According to the Greek definition of the word, it means “rotten, useless, corrupt, depraved.” We can all think of bad words—four-letter words or hate-speech—but there are other words that are equally, if not more, dangerous.

Sometimes it’s a throw-away comment to a child that meant nothing to us but crushed something inside of them. Sometimes it’s something that comes out in a heated argument with our spouses that creates wounds that can take years to heal. Sometimes it’s gossip about a co-worker that damages his/her character and reveals our own. All of these words can cause lasting damage to people who are loved and created in the image of God. They have the ability to destroy relationships and leave lasting scars.

Lead Pastor Ben Snyder’s Bottom Line was, “You CHOOSE the words you USE.” You can never unsay something. Once it comes out of your mouth and enters the ears of someone else, it will affect them. Our words have great power—they can help others grow or they can tear them apart. Build up or tear down, it’s your choice.

Questions:
When you speak to others, how do you leave them feeling? Do you build others up or tear them down with your words?

How often do you pause before you speak to consider whether what you are about to say is uplifting or unwholesome? If it’s unwholesome, do you still say it?

Next Steps:
The next time you are tempted to respond to someone impulsively, stop and think: Is what I’m saying uplifting or unwholesome? If it is not uplifting, ask yourself: Is this necessary? Is this something that is helpful or harmful? If it’s not necessary or helpful, choose to keep silent.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, thank you for the gift of words. I have the opportunity to show your love through the words I speak, but I also have the power to destroy others with those same words. Forgive me for words spoken in anger that wound. Forgive me for allowing my passion to tear down those I love. Help me stop and think before I speak. Help me keep all unwholesome speech from my lips and use my words to encourage those around me. Amen.


This post was written by Julie Mabus. Julie has a passion for thinking about big ideas, art, reading, and seeing God reveal himself through creation. She is married and is homeschooling her five young children.


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Did You Really Say That? – I Said This, You Heard That.

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Every once in a while, I come across a post on social media that shares examples of text messages gone wrong. Usually, it’s a parent sending a message to their child. Here is an example of one that I recently saw between a mom and her son.

Mom: Your great aunt just passed away. LOL.

Son: Why is that funny?

Mom: It’s not funny, David. What do you mean?

Son: Mom, LOL means Laughing Out Loud.

Mom: Oh, my goodness. I sent that to everyone. I thought it meant Lots of Love. I have to call everyone back.

I’ll admit, I often make text errors. Usually, it is that darn “text to talk” feature that I use. I am sure you can relate. The truth, though, is it goes beyond texting. Communication, no matter the form, is complicated.

Over the weekend, Lead Pastor Ben Snyder pointed out some of the complications we experience when communicating. Sometimes we flat out say the wrong thing. Other times, we say the right thing, but we say it in the wrong way. Or, we say one thing, and something entirely different is heard. Sometimes we’d have been better off saying nothing at all.

The words we choose are powerful. They can tear down and hurt others, or they can encourage and build up others. The average person uses 16,000 words a day, giving numerous opportunities for miscommunication. That is why we need to think about the words we use so that they are received the way we intend them.

Ben introduced us to the book I Said This, You Heard That, by Kathleen Edelman. In her book, she gives us a framework from which to view all communication—our temperament. In her book, she shares that your temperament determines the words you speak and how you receive the words others speak. Your temperament is what comes most naturally to you. It is like your first language.

In this given framework, there are four temperaments – Video:

Sanguine: (Yellow) – People and Fun – Hates to be alone – Enthusiastic – Popular – Affectionate – Joyful – Loud – Interrupts.

Choleric: (Red) – Power and Control – Bossy – Confident – Driven – Self Directed – Quick-tempered – Impatient – Decisive

Melancholic: (Blue) – Order and Perfection – Enjoys solitude – Cautious – Perfectionist – Empathetic – Creative – Moody – Critical

Phlegmatic: (Green) – Calm and Harmony – Tolerant  – Easy going  – Patient – No sense of urgency – Kind – Diplomatic – Indecisive – Stubborn

Learning which one you are will help you understand yourself better. And knowing the temperaments of others will help you know the words you should choose when communicating with them. Learning these two things will change your relationships for the better and help you live out this series’ theme verse.

Ephesians 4:29 NIV
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

Let’s let this series be the beginning of thinking differently about the words we choose, and let’s commit to using helpful words to build each other up as God calls us to.

Questions:
What is your temperament?
What is something new you learned about yourself?
With whom can you share the results of your temperament test, and who would you like to invite to take the test?

Next Steps:
If you haven’t taken the test yet, take a few moments today to complete it. You can access it by texting “colors” to 419-419-0707.

Share your results with someone close to you.

For more videos, extras, and parenting resources, download the free “I Said This, You Heard That” app by North Point Ministries.

Prayer:
Dear God, I praise you because you created each person as special and unique. Our differences are complex and beautiful. Over these next few weeks, please help me to grow in my understanding of myself and others. Help me to see how our temperaments affect words, and help me to be someone who builds up people and never tears them down. Thank you for your love. In Jesus’ name, amen.


This post was written by Ben Bockert. Ben is a proud husband and father of three beautiful daughters. He is honored to serve as the Director of the LivingItOut Bible Study.


Check out the Latest LivingItOut Podcast

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We would love to hear how the LivingItOut is making a difference in your life. Let us know how today’s post inspired, challenged, or encouraged you by leaving a comment here.


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