“Words which do not give the light of Christ increase the darkness.”
The famous line, “You’re killing me Smalls,” from the 1993 movie, “The Sandlot,” accurately depicts what happens when unkind words are spoken to one another. Scripture very clearly states in Proverbs 18:21, “The tongue has the power of life and death.” The words we speak will either produce life and vitality or they will produce death and destruction. Our tongue can articulate words which may create or bring something to an abrupt end. Our words can speak destiny into someone’s heart; they are also powerful enough to destroy it.
Both blessings and curses can flow out of the same mouth. Joe Cavanaugh, in The Language of Blessing, writes, “What you say has the power to give life to dreams and callings–or to snuff them out before they have a chance to develop.”
My emotional healing began when two simple words were spoken to me by an older woman whom I barely knew. As she was hugging me good-bye, she said, “You’re special.” That’s all it took for an almost forty-year-old to begin her path to emotional wholeness. Due to all the shame I carried around, I felt anything but special. Those words were like seeds planted on rich soil and life began to be birthed in me. A tree of hope started to take root that maybe she was right; I was special.
The other day I was with two girlfriends celebrating one of their birthdays over breakfast. The topic came up about my writing and I sincerely shared my struggling beliefs. I told them I’ve been asking the Lord along this 26-year journey of writing for Him, “Are we there yet?” This dear friend enthusiastically exclaimed, “You’re there! You’re there!” Those cheering-me-on words, just like, “You’re special,” were played over and over and over again the next few days. Did my friend think her words were of great significance? Probably not. But to me, they were life-giving. Proverbs 16:24 states, “Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” Those words spoken brought healing to my heart.
As a fourth-grade school teacher and then later on as a Mom, you would often hear me say, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say anything at all.” When I hear someone make a favorable comment about someone else, I’ll encourage them to let that person know. Much of life beats us down. We desperately need to hear encouraging words.
My Mom taught me to “taste my words” before they left my mouth. Will the words I’m about to say give a sweet or a sour taste, if someone were to savor them? Would they encourage someone to feel better about themselves, or bitter after the verbal exchange?
Ephesians 4:29 says, “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.” If only we ran through our minds a little checklist regarding the words we’re about to speak. Is my speech wholesome, healthy and safe? Are my words constructive and encouraging? Is this a word they need to hear? Are my words useful, profitable and do the person a world of good? If I stay within those guidelines, my words will heal and not hurt. Let it be said of us, “You’re saving me Smalls!”
“Speak ill of no man, but speak all the good you know of everybody.”
1. Recall a time when words spoken over you deflated you.
2. Recollect when words birthed life in you.
3. How can you taste your words?