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Using Words Wisely

When I was in the Fifth grade, my lunch time consisted of a group of boys gathered around a table. We would have put down contests and Yo Mamma joke contests. Each day two boys would be chosen, one from each side of the table, and they would trade put downs until one ran out of them or one of them started crying. When one boy won, two more would be chosen and it would continue. I learned to be quick witted from that, but I also learned that putting down others was funny.

We were just kids, but we were finding out how powerful words could be. Just by saying certain things, you could make someone laugh or cry. We were too immature to understand the power of those words and the ability of them to stay in someone’s mind with the potential to define them. I don’t know what happened to the rest of the boys at that table, but I hope they learned how to use words to build others up instead of tearing them down. The words we speak to others are so powerful that we shouldn’t treat them lightly.

Ephesians 4:29 says, “Do not use harmful words, but only helpful words, the kind that build up and provide what is needed, so that what you say will do good to those who hear you” (GNT). This should be the standard we use when talking to others. Before we speak, our filter should ask, “Will these words do good or cause harm?” God is in the business of building people up. As His followers, we need to be doing the same. I’ve still got work to do in this area, but my prayer is that God would help me to use my words wisely so that they provide what is needed, do good to those who hear them and build others up.

Photo by Cole Hutson on Unsplash

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Choosing Words Of Life

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It’s Free Friday! Today is the day you let go of the things in your life that keep you down or hold you back from all God has for you. To celebrate, I’m giving away a copy of “Epic Grace: Chronicles of a Recovering Idiot” by Kurt Bubna. Keep reading to find out how to enter.

My friend, who is a missionary in Haiti, was talking to me about the orphans he’s helped rescue. He was telling me about one of the new children who was abandoned along with her siblings and left in their home to fend for themselves. She is paralyzed and was lying in her own filth naked when they rescued her. When they got her to the orphanage, the ladies and children referred to her as the crippled girl. They would ask, “Can you bring the cripple over here so we can feed her?” They would say, “Take the cripple outside so she can watch the other kids play.”

He told them, “Her name is Cassandra. Call her by her name, not her disability.” He was met with some resistance because it’s their culture to call people by their disability. Before you get all upset, it’s in our culture too. When we look in the mirror, we don’t always see a child of God. We see someone who is too fat, not good enough or a failure. When we look at our reflection, our mind says, “You need to lose weight. You won’t get the job. You will never amount to anything.” We sit in judgement of ourselves and affect our own attitude about life and God.

We also label other people. “He’s such a liar. Why is she such a drama queen?” We talk about them to other people and tear them down. It’s not just our culture, it’s our sinful nature. It’s bred into us. Proverbs 18:21 says, “Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit – you choose.” There is great power in the words we speak towards ourselves or towards others. We don’t always think of them as bringing life or death, but that’s what this proverb tells us. It concludes with, “You choose.” We have the power to speak life into the person in the mirror and to others.

One day, Jesus was teaching in the temple and a group of Pharisees brought a woman to Jesus. “Adulterer!”, they screamed out. They looked at Jesus and said, “Moses and the law give us the right to stone this woman to death. What do you say?” Jesus looked down and began to draw in the dirt. They insisted on an answer from Him. After all, she was labeled as an adulterer. Jesus looked past her failure and up at them. He said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone.” With that, He began to draw in the dirt again. When He looked back up, it was just the woman standing there. He asked where the people who had labeled her were. Jesus smiled and said, “Didn’t even one of them condemn you? Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”

We don’t know what Jesus was drawing on the ground. Was He drawing out the sins of the men wanting to stone her? Was He writing out the positive things about this woman where only she could read them? What we do know is that He didn’t let sin, failure or labels to define this woman. He didn’t let others define her that way either. We need to follow that example. When you see that person staring at you in the mirror, speak positive things about them. “There stand a princess of the King of Kings. There is someone who is the temple of God. There is someone who is just the way God made them.” Change the words you use about yourself and others and you will change everything. You can choose to speak life.

You set yourselves up to judge according to the flesh by what you see. You condemn by external, human standards. I do not set Myself up to judge or condemn or sentence anyone. (John 8:15 AMP)

If you would like to win “Epic Grace” by Kurt Bubna, all you have to do is go to my Facebook page here and “like” it. I will randomly pick one person tomorrow (April 5, 2014) who has liked my page. If you have already liked my page and enjoy reading these daily devotionals, you are already entered. Please invite your friends to like my page so they can receive encouragement from God’s Word too.

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