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. Ephesians 4:29
What are words? Webster defines words as "verbal signals." Words can build up or they can tear down. Words can encourage or they can discourage. Words can be loving or they can be full of disdain. Words can be many or they can be few. But, words send messages or "signals" every time they leave our mouths. A lack of words can also send negative messages. A story is told of a father who took his six-year old daughter on a "date" to their favorite restaurant. During the meal, the dad did most of the talking as he told his little girl how wonderful she was, how proud he was of her, how proud he was to be her dad and how much he loved her. He told her how special she was to him and how she was such a special gift from God. After he had done what he felt was a great job of reassuring her of his love, he picked up his fork and began to eat. His daughter put her hand on his arm and stopped him with these words, "Longer, Daddy! Longer!" The father may not have finished much of his meal that day, but he certainly fed one little girl's heart.
Many a home is filled with hungry hearts; hungry hearts that wait to hear those words of praise and affirmation. Hearts that long to hear the words, "Well done!”, "Good job!", "I love you!”, "You are so special!" "I am so proud of you!” I wonder how many of us miss those hungry hearts that greet us each morning across the breakfast table, wait for us to come home every night, or silently long for us to convey to them just how worthy they are. How many times do we miss those precious opportunities to reassure our spouses or children that they are really not total failures, unworthy or unwanted, but in fact, are very special to us and to God? Too many times in our society today, disrespect and put-downs are the messages our families are receiving instead of the kind of words that edify and build up.
One of the greatest gifts we can give our families is a guarded tongue. In Psalms 141:3, the psalmist tells us, "Set a guard over my mouth, 0 Lord, keep watch over the door of my lips." The power of words is so great. Words are like feathers of a pillow... once shaken out, you can never retrieve all of them. Words can hurt and destroy relationships or they can build relationships. If we plant negative, destructive and critical words, we will reap a family that is negative, critical and destructive. Look for the good in your family and then let them know with loving, kind words that build up and edify. We would be wise to ask ourselves these questions before speaking:
T: Is it true?
H: ls it helpful?
I: ls it inspiring?
N: Is it necessary?
K: Is it kind?
I have learned over the years that it is very important to choose carefully the words I use and the way I speak. Sometimes you have to really look for kind words to speak, but once said they can be the healing balm that is needed in many relationships. Here are some thoughts for us all to consider: