Words… they’re a blessing, a gift we give to others… a form of expression to use wisely. With words, we either praise or curse… express love or hate… lift someone up or destroy their heart. At times I don’t think before uttering a response, forgetting that words can say so much. In reality, our words often reveal the depth of our heart. In other words, we are known by the words we keep.
Since our words are so often copied and used by our children, are we using good ones? What about when we get upset and angry? Do we take our Lord’s name in vain… that is, do we swear using His holy name or an abbreviation thereof? Do we get angry easily and blast the unlucky one who offended us?
Like spring cleaning of our house when we wash the windows so the sun can shine through clearly after a long and gloomy winter… and open the windows to allow gentle breezes to bring in spring’s fresh aroma… and clean out our closets to remove clutter and debris… so it should be in taking stock of our words… a fitting resolution for the new year! And what a blessing to know God uses our words when and where we least expect!
Knowing life as it can be, the Apostle Peter reminds us to “rid [ourselves] of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind.” (I Peter 2:1) While Solomon also wisely wrote that, “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. The tongue of the wise commends knowledge, but the mouth of the fool gushes folly… The tongue that brings healing is a tree of life, but a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit.” (Proverbs 15:1-2, 4)
And I’m reminded of my husband, Ed, who often took a few seconds longer to reply than I’d have liked. As he put it, he was thinking about his answer. How wise! Because I have a tendency to answer quickly, not always giving as much thought as I should to my response… though we both occasionally insert foot in mouth, necessitating its retrieval with an apology. But then, as we allow God to use our words to bless others, we gain a renewed sense of purpose in what we do say: “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)
This does not prevent us from attempting to put an end to abusive language by others toward us. We have every biblical right to point out what is offensive, helping someone understand how hurtful their words are. I’ve said it elsewhere, and will say it again… unless they understand the harm they’ve done, admit, repent, and truly change their behavior, we have every right to walk away from an abusive relationship.
Then, as we speak kind words to encourage someone, or perhaps change our hastily spoken inappropriate words for better ones, we might think of this little acrostic I found online (author unknown):
T – is it true?
H – is it helpful?
I – is it inspiring?
N – is it necessary?
K – is it kind?
Words… they say so much as we touch the hearts of others. And may our words be given focus to build up and encourage each other… as I wish each of you a very happy and blessed New Year!
by Linda A. Roorda
Words speak volumes of where the heart lies
From hidden depths to outward display
With love’s gentle touch to anger’s dark tone
Touching the soul, our words say so much.
Words carry gifts to lighten the load
Cheering the sad and soothing deep pain
Finding their way to memory’s seat
Treasures with meaning, expressions of the heart.
Words cut to the core when wrapped in our wrath
Shredding the ties that bind hearts as one
Causing a tarnish to sully and mar,
Yet they soothe pain to bring luster back.
Words encourage when all else seems lost
And the way grows dark and the path is rough,
While hope gives way to a brighter day
To carry you through by faith’s shining glow.
Words are like hands reaching out to heal
Tearing down walls and building a bridge
Strengthening bonds through lessons of life
Defining rapport and trusting in truth.
Words say so much when hearts open wide
Giving voice to pleas that silence knows well
Expressing the tone true emotions feel
Touching the soul from the depths of love.
Linda Roorda writes from her home in Spencer.