We know them. We use them every day. The average man uses them about 7,000 times a day, to be exact.
In my life – short as it is – I have seen (and experienced) what words can do. Indeed, king Solomon knew what he was talking about when he wrote:
“The tongue of the wise useth knowledge aright: but the mouth of fools poureth out foolishness.” (Proverbs 15:2)
Words are powerful tools. We use them daily, rarely thinking twice about it. But nonetheless, their power remains.
Words can be mean, heartbreaking, and evil. But words can also be kind, caring, and loving. Words can be used either to give life, or to take life.
Here are 4 ways you can use your words to give life.
1. Don’t use them at all.
This may seem strange. Since this article is about using words to give life, why should I say that the first way to do this is to not use them at all?
Well, the answer is simple.
“He that keepeth his mouth keepeth his life: but he that openeth wide his lips shall have destruction.” (Proverbs 13:3)
Even though there are times when not speaking is a recipe for disaster, I still believe there are times when silence is the best answer.
Silence can sometimes say more than an entire book. I read a book once where the main character said, “I have been sorry multiple times for saying something. But I have never yet been sorry for not saying something…”
I’m sure we can all relate to that!
So many times we say something in haste, or in anger. So many times we are sorry for saying something only seconds after we said it. So many times we have wished to turn back time, so we can un-say what we just said. In our world today, we have a general addiction to saying things and then regretting it only moments later.
I personally have too much experience of words taking away life, love, and friendship, when simply not saying something at that moment would have meant love and kindness.
“Speak when you’re angry, and you’ll make the best speech you’ll ever regret.” (Lawrence J. Peter)
2. Speak to him, not of him.
A very good principle to live by is to never say anything about somebody that you would not say directly to that person. Be honest: how many of the things I daily say about Johnny will I ever have the guts to say directly to Johnny?
Gossip can be a very dangerous tool. One that the enemy knows exactly how to use.
Now you might say, “That’s OK. I don’t gossip about anyone. I mean, it’s not like it counts if I just listen, right?”
Even the very idea of listening to something bad being said about a fellow believer should have us shrinking with shame. We are fighting the same battle! We have one common enemy! We are allies in this war!
Yet, we continue to engage in gossip about our allies. How can you expect your allies to stay loyal to you if you are not willing to stand up for them and their honour when they are not present?
The next time you hear a friend’s name being mentioned in gossip, stand up for him/her. I don’t mean be aggressive (see point 1), but I do mean standing firm. Say something like this: “Listen guys, I don’t think what we are doing is to the honour and glory of God. Let’s not talk about this any more until this person has had the opportunity to defend his case.”
Judging people in their absence is as good as a jury sentencing jail time while the defendant is absent. (Make sure that you are a worthy lawyer though!)
“True friends say good things behind your back and bad things to your face.” – Unknown Author
3. Use words with Kindness.
What are your chances of making an impact on a friend when your first words are, “You know, I think you have made a mistake by doing…” or “If I were you, I would rather…”
Seriously, put yourself in your friend’s shoes.
None of us like to be corrected. We hate to be reminded that we are not whole. But even more than we hate being reminded of not being whole, we hate being reminded of not being as whole as someone else.
If you want to make an impact, start your sentence with a hug and a prayer.
I love the history of Job. Job was a man near to God’s heart. In return for his faith, he enjoyed the blessings of being a child of the Almighty God. However, (we all know the story) all his blessings were taken away from him. His children, his horses, camels, sheep, everything. Yet, he still lived the way God intended him to live. (Even though he did not see the purpose of it.)
In the depths of his need, his friends arrived. At the first glance, you may think that these are friends well worth having. It would seem that they thoroughly shared in his perils. That is of course, until they opened their mouths.
Job’s friends felt that Job had done something wrong, while clearly, had they looked deeper into the matter, they would have discovered that his sufferings were not caused by sin.
Job’s friends try to correct him. When a simple prayer and a kind word would have created new life in Job, they used their “I know everything, why did you sin” attitude to only make things worse, and to deepen the hole that the devil had ready for Job.
Remember that a single kind word can go a thousand miles, while a thousand unkind words won’t reach ten feet.
4. Use words from Scripture.
“Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” (Ephesians 6:13-17)
See that? The Word of God is our sword. The sword we need to use to defeat evil. The sword we need to constantly be reminding each other of. The sword that we can use to fend off more hurts.
God gave us his word. Now we have the order to use it. Let us use the sword that God gave us.
The very most effective way we can use it is to constantly study it with friends. Use His sword. Use it wisely. Use it as a foundation for every conversation you have!
That’s what the sword of God is for.
Are you someone ready to speak words that give life? Or are you someone who has been slowly draining the life out of the people you speak to?
We have been given the ability to speak. Now, we have to use it.
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