As you’ve already seen by clicking on this post, your words matter. Getting one word in the wrong position, makes a message you were trying to communicate, unclear.
For many of us, we use words a lot, whether that is because speaking is a regular part of our job. For some of you, your speaking is just a priority in your relationship; you have a lot to communicate about how to manage your schedule and your kid’s schedule. For all of us though we speak to ourselves regularly, whether that is out loud (which you shouldn’t do too much) or in our heads. We are constantly using words. My reflection has been when we do something a lot; we eventually become complacent. I think because of the volume of words we speak we forget the incredible power that they have.
Two passages, in particular, have been challenging me on how I use my words, and hopefully how you will use your words.
They are James 3:7-10 which says “This is scary: You can tame a tiger, but you can’t tame a tongue—it’s never been done. The tongue runs wild, a wanton killer. With our tongues, we bless God our Father; with the same tongues we curse the very men and women he made in his image. Curses and blessings out of the same mouth!”
Then again in Proverbs 18:21”Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit—you choose.”
They are weighty passages, challenging thoughts. Our words, can either bless God, give life or they can curse people made in God’s image and bring death.
While I do believe that some of our words are flippant. For example talking about whether the recent AFL finals have been a bit boring (which they were unless you were a Richmond supporter). As soon as we begin talking about humanity, I believe that is when our words fall into either the category of blessing or curse, life or death.
LIFE IS LOVE
The first option we have with our words is life, will we be people who speak life, hope and love into others.
These are things that we believe will benefit the other person, things that will help them see their value, the way that they have made an impact, and even how they can become a better person.
This type of speech always comes from a place of love. If you want to see life, you can’t hate the other person. If you want to build the other person up it will always come from your love for the other person.
If you want to be some who helps to see others grow and see fruit in their life, then you need to choose to be someone who uses their words to speak life over them. One of the best ways to do that is to think “How can I say this in a way that shows my love for them?” or “Will saying this help them find life, hope, and love?” If we ask ourselves these questions, when we have something difficult to say, but that we know will bring growth, we need to remind ourselves that it is loving to confront our friends about behaviour that needs changing. That it is love to talk them about ways of living that are limiting the other person, about friends who may be stopping our friend from growing. This is a loving thing to do.
Love wants to see the best for the other person, love chooses to speak words of life, even if that start by helping them cut back a branch, ready for the next season of growth.
CURSE IS HATE
The other option we have is given as the opportunity to curse someone.
I’m sure this one is something with which we can empathise. We probably have had our moments where we have experienced people speaking words of death over us. Whether it was people saying things that killed a passion in you. Words that made you question your calling. Words that made you feel that the person on the other side of them must have a real disdain for you.
Maybe you have had the moment where you have seen your words have a destructive impact on someone else’s life.
Our words have the ability to stunt the growth of others.
EVERY WORD MATTERS, CHOOSE LIFE
And to me, this is an obvious choice in what type of words come out of my mouth.
I would rather have people come away from a conversation with me, know that they are loved, supported, feeling like they can go and be a better person. Whether that was speaking hope over inadequacy that they were feeling, or helping them see a blind spot they had that was stopping them being the leader they want to be.
Whatever it is, let’s be people who after having a conversation with someone else, that other person has grown into who God has called them to be. Let’s use our words to bring life.
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Keep going on your lifelong pursuit of growth, I’m championing you on.
Ben Dainton, The Growth Mandate.