Wielding Words Wisely

Kind words are like honey—
sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.
—Proverbs 16:24 NLT

Ask my husband. Or my children. Or anyone who knows me. I talk a lot. I love words. I love speaking them and writing them. Evidently, I even talk in my sleep. I guess I still have words left over at the end of the day. I’m one who looks at her half full plate of food when everyone else has finished eating and wonders why on earth I still have so much left. And then someone kindly reminds me that it *might* be because I was talking as much as I was eating. [Sigh.]

This ability to easily talk, to write, to string words together is a blessing—and a danger. My quiet, introverted husband was drawn to me because of my words. It was easy to engage in a conversation with me, because I filled in all the silences with happy chatter. At a gathering, it’s helpful to have a ready arsenal of words at your command. Just find someone who looks a bit “out of it,” go over, chat for a bit, find out their interests, draw them out, and, when they stumble a bit, fill in with that happy chatter again. And, I will say that if you happen to be a speaker and writer for a living? Having lots of words is very handy indeed.

Nevertheless, having lots to say can also be a hindrance to good communication. If I fill in every silent gap, not staying quiet long enough to allow others to process replies and respond … I’ve robbed them of a valuable chance to speak and share their hearts. My exuberance can drown out a thoughtful comment. And, if I use words incorrectly, spewing them out rapid-fire in anger, I can cause great hurt and harm that lasts a very long time.

How about you? How’s it going in the word department? Where are your struggles in this area? Let’s look at scriptures that will help us glean principles for using words wisely.

  • Wise words encourage. “Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them” (Ephesians 4:29 NLT).
  • Wise words defuse anger. “A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare” (Proverbs 15:1 NLT).
  • Wise words help others grow in knowledge. “The tongue of the wise makes knowledge appealing, but the mouth of a fool belches out foolishness” (Proverbs 15:2 NLT).
  • Wise words bring life to the listener. “Gentle words are a tree of life” (Proverbs 15:4a NLT).
  • Wise words are sweet and healthy. “Kind words are like honey—sweet to the soul and healthy for the body” (Proverbs 16:24 NLT).

If we wield words unwisely, the results can be disastrous. Proverbs 15:4b tells us “a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit.” Because words used incorrectly can cause much harm, we need to be very, very careful before we speak. Have you ever been the recipient of a tongue-lashing? Not pleasant, is it? Words can be hurled at a person, bludgeoning them with a fierceness and ferocity that leaves scars for months and even years. Harsh words can cause horrible damage. Gentle words can encourage, defuse anger, instruct, and bring life. Whether we are people of few words or many, let’s ask God’s help in speaking words that are beneficial to the listener.

Father God, as we start a new week, would You please help us with our words? Put a stop over our mouths when we are about to unleash unkindness or anger. Help us to speak truthfully, full of grace and gentleness, making sure that what we say will bless the listener and please You, who listen to every conversation. Thank You for Your Word, Lord, and the way it instructs us. Keep our tongues from evil and our lips from telling lies. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

You are loved,
Sharon

 

 

Sweet Selah Ministries

Vision
To encourage a movement away from the belief that “busy is better”
and toward the truth that stillness and knowing God matter most—
and will be reflected in more effective work and service

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To offer resources and retreats that help women pause (Selah)
and love God more deeply as they know Him more intimately (Sweet)

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2 Responses to “Wielding Words Wisely”

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  1. Margaret Fowler says:

    So true. Cruel words are hard to forget, I remember some from decades of years ago! Forgiven of course. But oh how they linger. And how kind words linger too! Love them! thanks for this message.

    • Sharon Gamble says:

      Yes, we need to be SO careful with our mouths. I am thankful for all the kind words. I am glad they linger, too!!

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