“Gentle words are a tree of life;
a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit.”
“Mama, do you still love me when I make such stupid mistakes?” My sweet one, many years ago, was curled up on the couch in an almost fetal position, regretting something she has done and condemning herself over and over again for not refraining from the foolish behavior.
“I love you if you had made 10,000 mistakes. I love you because you are mine. I love you even for the mistakes you will make the rest of your life. You are so precious to me, I can hardly refrain from kissing your sweet head a million times right now.”
A tiny smile curled her lips. I stroked her hair and told her that God’s love became more precious to me each day, because the older I got, the more I sinned, even when I wish I could be good, and the more it made me love Him for His gracious love.
A wise mama give words of life–practices planting seeds of love through the words she aims at the hearts of her children.
Our mother’s mothers said it to them, our mothers told us, and we tell our children:
If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.
While we have heard and said this many times, it is not only true, but biblical.
“Whoever guards his mouth preserves his life; he who opens wide his lips comes to ruin.”
Excusing our offensive, unsolicited opinions with comments like “no offense” is still offensive, friends. Our culture has made it quite easy and comfortable for us to hide behind computer screens, iPhones, and iPads, offering out our every thought on blogs and social media with no immediate consequences and no tear-filled eyes staring back at us. What a different world we would live in if instead of viewing every thought that runs through our minds as something we are entitled to share, we took every thought captive out of obedience to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5).
Are your words building the kingdom of God, being used as a tool and source of encouragement, and making someone’s day? Or are your words causing pain, destruction, and breaking someone’s day? Often times, people say “the truth hurts.” As women in today’s culture, we do have the power and influence to hurt others with our words. However, wise, godly women use their words to bless, to teach truth, to instruct, to encourage, to love, to support, and to nourish the broken.
An amazing tool that we have with the tongue is to speak truth that doesn’t hurt. Truth that brings light, joy, and inspiration to those around us. In order for us to be able to teach our children the importance of the impact of our words, we must walk it out ourselves. One of the ways that we allow our frustrations, disappointments, and insecurities to manifest is through negative, cutting words. Through our gossip and breaking others down, we build this unhealthy habit that becomes a cycle. When we make someone else feel small, it makes us feel big for a moment. We live in a generation where gossip, rumors, and lie-filled tabloids are considered normal. Even worse-gossiping & cutting others down has turned into a “bonding experience” for many women. Proverbs 15:2 tells us: “The tongue of the wise makes knowledge appealing, but the mouth of a fool belches out foolishness.”
We must teach our children that gossip is unacceptable, but before they will accept this value, you must ask yourself:How are you speaking to your children? What words are used in your home? It starts with you.
Proverbs 31 says, “When she speaks, she has something worthwhile to say, and she always says it kindly.”
I encourage you to have Christlike, blessed conversation this week in your home, and outside your home. Remember that when you speak from a kind, gentle heart, your message is far more likely to be well received and accepted than when you speak out of anger and coldness.
Feel free to share the memory verse below:
How do you speak to your children? With a gentle voice?
Do you look them in the eye and honor them with your attention?
Do you seek to give life when you speak your words?
Do you seek to pass on the beauty and love of God with the ways you speak to your husband, children, friends?