A Way With Words — Morning Devotions - Hope 103.2

A Way With Words — Morning Devotions

Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body. Proverbs 16:24 (ESV)

By Chris WittsThursday 10 Aug 2023Morning Devotions with Chris WittsFaithReading Time: 1 minute

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When you were a child, did your mother say to you “think before you speak, your words can get you into a lot of trouble?” I think many mothers would have given that kind of advice.

Those words are true

Our words can get us into trouble. I want to talk this morning about the power of words. If our words and thoughts are the very tools with which we create our reality, then surely they are our most powerful tool yet. So we should pick the very best words in order to create our best reality. Let me put it to you this way. Your words are the paint with which you paint your reality.

Because words have energy and power. They’ve got the ability to help, to heal, to hurt, to harm, to humiliate and to humble. So what decision have you made about the use of words? Do you just blurt out the first thing that comes to mind? Words can affect us in a way that we may not realise. Sometimes it can emotionally scar us too. Even if we don’t like admitting it.

So believe it or not, even the toughest of people can be hurt by words. Have you ever been insulted? How did you feel with somebody else’s insulting words? These words can affect others our friends, our family as well as other people. Today, it’s very easy to post a comment on social media without putting much thought into it. It only takes a few seconds to send, for example, a text message.

It’s easy to make a sarcastic remark or to make fun of someone else. Words can reduce a person’s self-esteem to almost next to nothing in an instant.

Text messages that tell you no-one cares about you or no-one likes you because of how you look. They’re hard to face, and this damage can last for years.

So let’s not say or write anything that we wouldn’t repeat. Stop and think. Before we laugh at someone or make sarcastic comments. We cannot control what other people say, but we can control what we say. There’s great teaching in the Bible and the way we use our words. Ephesians 4:29 in the New Testament, says, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only that which is helpful for building others up according to their needs that it may benefit those who listen.”

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The right words at the wrong time can be just as damaging as the wrong words

I think in times of somebody’s loss or bereavement, what we say is very important. For example, a mother who’s lost a child, a stillborn child and to say “Don’t worry, you can always have another baby” is quite foolish and stressful. The woman doesn’t want to hear that. We need to be careful not to dismiss their pain or frustration, and words left unsaid can be hurtful.

How often do we hear about a boss who never encourages or affirms his staff? He only points out their mistakes. An encouraging word costs nothing and will usually make a world of difference. Proverbs 16:24 in the Old Testament, says pleasant words are like honeycomb sweetness to the soul and health to the bones. These are the words of Solomon, the wise and much loved king. He knew a lot about life, power and human nature, and he was talking about a gracious, delightful and friendly word. Not trying to flatter anyone but words of court.

Today there are so much negative and hurtful things that are said, and we’ve probably been on the receiving end of this. But God’s word tells us to be careful. We know how it feels to receive a kind and gracious word from a friend, and it’s no secret that consistent verbal abuse can and does affect the mental health of many. I mean, studies have confirmed this fact. A child who heard encouraging positive and loving words will grow up usually being self confident and successful in life.

But that child, who heard only negative words of condemnation, will grow up being emotionally destabilised. Speaking words of hope and love can be a powerful form of verbal medicine. When we express our feelings to those that we care about, we can let them know how much they mean to us, how much they’ve impacted our lives and how much we do value them. There’s a wonderfully helpful verse in the Bible. We need to pray, as did the psalmist in Psalm 141, “My mouth, O’ Eternal God, control what I say. Keep a careful watch on every word I speak.”

Jesus said to his disciples, “Let me give you a new command. Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you should love one another. And this is how everyone will recognise that you are my disciples when they see the love that you have for each other.”

Let’s Pray

Heavenly Father, I’ve got the opportunity to speak good, gracious and kind words to others. May that be something I do every day and grant me your help, I pray. Amen.