“A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
The tongue of the wise commends knowledge,but the mouths of fools pour out folly.”
Proverbs 15: 1-2
“A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit.” Proverbs 15:4
“The lips of the wise spread knowledge; not so the hearts of fools.” Proverbs 15:7
“The thoughts of the wicked are an abomination to the Lord, but gracious words are pure.” Proverbs 15: 26
“The heart of the righteous ponders how to answer, but the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things.” Provers 15: 28
“The fear of the Lord is instruction in wisdom, and humility comes before honor.” Proverbs 15: 33
A small sampling from Proverbs 15 reminds us how powerful words are. We may still remember the chant “stick and stones may break my bones” but we know words have more power than we wish they held. We are losing the art of gentle words in our culture and at times, even in the life of Christians and the church.
If you find you are having a problem with your words, may I suggest a few things…
– Understand it’s a heart issue
Sometimes we try to justify ourselves by saying “That’s just who I am” or “I’m just like my mom (or dad)” and continue on. While we can have in our personalty certain tendencies that lead us to be critical or negative, it doesn’t mean it’s ok. Your words still alienate, separate, and crush others at times. If we roll with our earthly tendencies and don’t work them into submission to God’s ways, we continue a cycle that impacts others and ourselves.
– Understand you are hurting others
You might think you are direct and others should appreciate it but I can’t tell you how many people come to me for life counseling because the anger, hurt, or weight they are feeling because of someone in their life dumping on them in unloving ways (again, often times Christians).
If you find that you enjoy the emotional release of unloading on others, there’s a good chance you are hurting them.
If you find that you enjoy talking about frustrations and grips with others to people other than the ones you struggle with, there’s a good chance you are hurting the person outside the loop and the one within it.
If you find that you need to tear others down to build yourself up, your just hurting everyone including how others see you.
– Understand things can turn around
You have the chance to earn others seeing you different. You may not be aware but you may have some nicknames you would rather not know about. However, by following the proverbs above, you can be know as an “encourager”!
Some of the words above can be foreign to us in our speech … soft, gentle, and pure. However, through discipline, taking a breath and speaking with the Spirit’s lead; you too can be righteous and ponder what words (and heart) to embrace. It just starts with humbling yourself, leaning into the ways of God and letting Him raise you up.
Words lead to broken marriages. Words lead to split churches. Words lead to failed friendships. Words lead to insecurity and loss.
Words lead to freedom. Words brings unity. Words heal old wounds. Words have power.
Use yours in the light of the Christ to honor Him and love others.
If we can help you with this in any way, please let us know.
Prayers and Blessings,
Pastor Tom Hypes