My little girl put her books back in the basket after “reading” a big stack on the couch. As I watched this tiny child heft books half her size into a basket she can quite nimbly fit into herself, I told her “That was very considerate to put those books away. Thank you for doing that!”
Of course, she wanted to know what “considewate” was! And thereafter for the next half hour she puttered about saying “I am considewate!”
Our words have great power, great influence on others. The wise man knew this too: “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits” (Proverbs 18:21).
Sometimes we are very dismissive of words: “well I’m just not good with words” or “I’m just blowing off steam.” But the Bible speaks very plainly about the importance of the words we use (and I think it is no accident that God left us… with His true, holy Word).
Rich or poor, great or small, young or old, we have an immense opportunity – and an immense responsibility to wield our words well. Our words will affect the people around us, for better or for worse.
I think of Moses after the Israelites complained in Numbers 11:13-14. “I am not able to carry all this people alone; the burden is too heavy for me. If you will treat me like this, kill me at once….” I think it’s fair to say Moses was pretty affected – even discouraged – by their words. We can probably empathize. At some point in our lives, we have felt the wounds of another’s hurtful or discouraging words.
But the opposite is also true. Have you ever been encouraged, loved, and healed by another’s words? Have you ever felt love poured over your cracked and bleeding heart by the thoughtfully chosen and Godly words of another?
There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts,
but the tongue of the wise brings healing. ~ Proverbs 12:18
My dad used to say, “Any fool can destroy, but it takes wisdom (patience and skill) to build someone up.” He was right. We have two choices – tear down with our words or build up. Today, may we choose to build toward eternity.
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. ~ Ephesians 4:29