Every word we speak has an impact on the listener. When we think about that, it can cause us to be more careful what we say. God would have us speak on His behalf.
Eternal Perspectives by Sally Bair
Ever since I learned how to read, I’ve been enamored with words. I’ve learned, and am still learning, that it’s not only the words I write that are important, but the words I speak. While growing up, my mother always spoke encouraging words to my twin sister and me. The words dumb, stupid, worthless and other common labels were not a part of her vocabulary. And she encouraged us no matter what grades we received on our report cards.
Young minds are vulnerable to verbal attacks, often to the point of believing the labels placed on them. No wonder countless lives, young and old alike, have been discouraged or worse up from hearing negative words from parents, teachers, schoolmates or bosses. The saying, “Sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never hurt me,” isn’t true. In fact, negative words can do far more damage to our psyche than sticks and stones to our bodies.
We probably all are guilty of using negative words in our dealings with other people. A common example is telling someone “You never …” or “You always …” or “Why didn’t you do better?” We catch ourselves verbalizing our frustrations or anger without forethought. Too often we engage our mouths before putting our brains in gear.
Jesus addressed this very issue to the religious leaders of His time. “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” (Matthew 12:35-37)
After reading these verses for the umpteenth time, their importance struck me in a new way. My words have eternal consequences. I need to be careful to speak words that build people up, not tear them down. My words need to encourage others, not hurt them. Then my words will justify me, not condemn me. They will strengthen my relationship with God, not harm it. Do you agree?
Lord, thank You for raising our awareness of the importance of our words. May every word we speak be like Yours—full of love and encouragement. Thank You for Your true and reliable words. In Jesus’ name, amen.