Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Speak Life

Have you ever paused to consider what kind of words come out of your mouth?  Do you speak encouraging words or do you tend to have a negative outlook on life?  Are you gentle or harsh?  Kind or hurtful?  Confident in your speech or insecure? 

Words are powerful... they can build you up or tear you down.  And my morning began with unkind words shared among brothers.  These words stung my son.  And while an apology was given, along with five compliments to put a salve on the sting, it just didn't seem to erase the original message.  And so began a day filled with reflections on the power of our spoken words.

While driving the boys to school, Speak Life by Toby Mac played on the radio.  It was a perfect song for my word musings because it poetically explains how our words have power to transform others.  Take a moment and listen to the song:


Guess what?  I discovered that my words were not words of life today.  After my buttons were pushed one too many times this afternoon, calm correction went out the window.  I became impatient and harsh.  My correction was not gentle.  And as I put my son to bed, (the one who received the harsh, impatient words), I started our nightly prayer with a confession... asking God to forgive me for the harsh words spoken to my son.  I thanked God for being so patient with me when I mess up. And I spent some time thanking God for my son and how he brings joy to our family.  (Yep, it was my turn to share compliments after harsh correction.  The Magic Ratio recommends five positive comments for every negative comment.  Unfortunately, I think I'm still in the hole a bit even after the prayer.  Check out this article for a good read on the power of words:  http://www.accomplishlife.com/articles/55/1/The-Magic-Ratio-of-Positive-and-Negative-Moments/Page1.html  ).  I'm so grateful that God convicted me so my son and I could end our evening with words of life. 

The Bible has lots to say about our words.  I need to keep these verses top of mind... especially when my patience is fading quickly like the sun at sunset. I wonder if these verses will help you too?

Ephesians 4:29
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.
James 1:19
 Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.

Proverbs 15:1
A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare.

Proverbs 15:28
The heart of the godly thinks carefully before speaking; the mouth of the wicked overflows with evil words.

Proverbs 16:24
Pleasant words are a honeycomb, Sweet to the soul and healing to the bones

Proverbs 15:23
Everyone enjoys a fitting reply; it is wonderful to say the right thing at the right time!
2 Timothy 2:25
Gently instruct those who oppose the truth. Perhaps God will change those people’s hearts, and they will learn the truth.

Ouch!  These verses convict me.  I find that sometimes it's easier to put these verses into practice with those outside my family, however, I'm called to watch my tongue all the time.  This is definitely something I can't do on my own. And you know what?  God doesn't expect us to do this on our own.  He tells us in Philippians 4:13 NIrV, "I can do all things through the power of Christ.  He gives me strength."  Isn't that encouraging?  And one way to tap into Christ's strength with our words is to pray this simple verse each morning:  Take control of what I say, O Lord, and guard my lips.  (Psalm 141:3 NLT).

While reflecting on how I corrected my son today, God reminded me to tap into His divine wisdom when I'm in the heat of battle... when I'm on the verge of choosing unwholesome talk instead of words that will build others up (Ephesians 4:29).  How?  By putting 1 Thessalonians 5:17 into practice:  Pray continually.  That's right... God invites us to pause BEFORE we speak and ask Him for wisdom.  We can stop and ask God to speak through us.  Trust me, this is not my first reaction... stopping in the heat of the moment to pray and ask God to speak instead of me.  But I can imagine the positive results if I did pause before speaking... can you?
Tomorrow is a new day.  I get a fresh start... and you do too.  Let's tap into Christ's strength and choose to speak life today, one conversation at a time.
So speak Life, speak Life.
To the deadest darkest night.
Speak life, speak Life.
When the sun won't shine and you don't know why.
Look into the eyes of the brokenhearted;
Watch them come alive as soon as you speak hope,
You speak love, you speak...
You speak Life (From Speak Life by Toby Mac)


No comments:

Post a Comment