“Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit—you choose”
~Proverbs 18:21 (MSG)
This past week I ran into my son’s mentor, Kevin. It was on my heart to tell him how grateful I am for his presence in my son, Eric’s, life. I told him that if I was able to personally select a mentor for Eric, I could not have picked anyone better than him. He has been a great encouragement and role model to Eric, both as a college instructor and a friend.
As it turns out, Kevin was having a terrible day. He told me that, earlier in the day, he was questioning whether teaching was something he wanted to continue to do. Kevin was so thankful for my words and I praised God for His (always) perfect timing!
As Christians, we all have our struggles. One of mine is words. As a writer, the irony in that does not go unnoticed, but yes, words trip me up on my spiritual journey.
I struggle both in the way I speak to myself and, at times, in the things I say about others. It is never my intention to speak poorly of someone. Unfortunately, at times, my emotions get the best of me and it happens.
The Bible tells us that the tongue is set on fire by hell itself and that it cannot be tamed. (James 3:6-8 NLT)
So, while I will never be perfect at controlling my tongue, I believe there are a few ways I can improve in this area of my life. I share them here for those of you who can relate to this struggle. (I know you’re out there! 🙂 )
- Immerse yourself daily in the Good News. God’s Word is filled with hope. The Bible is His love letter to us and the instruction manual for how He wants us to live our lives; including how He wants us to speak. (Ephesians 4:29 NLT)
- Be cautious of the “input” you allow into your mind. “Garbage in equals garbage out.” The television shows we watch, the music we listen to, the books we read and the people we spend time with all influence our words. Choose wisely.
- Remember that we are made in the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1:27 NLT) When you belittle yourself, it is an insult to God. There’s nothing wrong with striving for improvement in your life, but at the core, we must remember that while God made each of us unique, we are all created in His image. To speak poorly of ourselves is to speak poorly of God’s marvelous handiwork (Psalm 139:14 NLT)
- Take time to count your blessings each day. Look at what you have, not at what you lack. God gifted each of us uniquely. Don’t compare your gifts to the gifts that God endowed to others. A thankful heart generates gracious words. (Luke 6:45 NLT)
- Be mindful. As I have shared time and again in this blog, I talk…ALOT. I am also a very emotional person. The simplest thing can fill my heart with excitement… or get under my skin and aggravate me. Instead of blurting things out haphazardly, we need to practice the art of silence. Once words are spoken, they cannot be taken back so it is important to think before we speak.
This world could surely use more words that resonate the love and grace of God. Be kind to yourself and to others. Speak as though God is listening, because, well…He is.
And, while we may not be able to change the world, we can certainly make our little corner of it a more positive, uplifting place to dwell.