18 Oct Encouragement Through Words
Our words—they can bring life or death to another person, encouragement or discouragement.
Proverbs 18:21 says, “The tongue can bring life or death; those who love to talk will reap the consequences.”
Have you ever thought about what it means to actually encourage one another? I consider myself to be an encourager, but do my words always reflect that? The older I get, the more I realize the power my words have—that they hold weight, and they can either ENcourage or DIScourage.
I can think of two examples in my own life. One is a fond memory and the other one, not so fond!
My niece told me not too long ago that my words meant so much to her over 20 years ago when she was going through a painful divorce and I spoke words of encouragement to her. I never knew how much it meant to her until she told me. I thought I was just giving her good advice.
The second memory I have came in the form of a letter from a friend, telling me how hurtful my words were to her and that she did not think she could forgive me for some things that I implied with my words.
We sometimes speak louder with our implied words and our advice, and even our prayer requests, all in the name of “helping” someone else.
I remember growing up hearing the words time and time again, “Sticks and stones will break your bones but words will never hurt you.” That is a lie, and I believe a truer statement would be, “Sticks and stones will break your bones but words will hurt your heart.”
In my early years, I found myself in a very abusive relationship, both verbally and emotionally. I remember saying to my boyfriend at the time, “I wish you would just hit me; it would hurt less, and the bruises would go away.”
Those words rang in my ears for years and years until God replaced them with truth: Our words are like seeds. Once we send them out, we are planting them.
What does God say about our words?
I Thessalonians 5:11 says, “So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.”
Proverbs 12:18 says, “Some people make cutting remarks, but the words of the wise bring healing.”
Matthew 12:36 says, “And I tell you this, you must give an account on judgement day for every idle word you speak.”
I know I will have to give an account for every idle word I have spoken one day, but I can choose to move forward in my life as an ENcourager and speak healing words from now on.
Let us pray to set our minds on His word. I do not want to be like the sea, tossed by the wind, but to declare that my mind is stable and fixed on His words of life.
Lord, help us to be a people that thinks before we speak, knowing full well our words have power and that we can choose to encourage and build up rather than hurt others with our tongue.