When I was a senior in high school, I went on my first mission trip. We drove deep into the heart of Mexico. At one point, we turned off the road into a dry creek bed. We drove down that creek bed for about twenty minutes and then we arrived in a small village to build a church. The people seemed to come out of nowhere to greet us. At one point, they took us to a deep well and told us about how a donkey had fallen in there and died. It took them several days to get it out, but by then the water had been polluted. They had to empty the well so they could get fresh, clean water again. I don’t think I’ll ever forget that story.
Proverbs 20:5 tells us that wisdom and counsel are deep within us like a well and that people of understanding will be able to draw them out. Then in Luke 6:45, Jesus said that we speak out of the abundance of our heart, meaning the things that are deep inside us come out of our mouth. Then in James 3:12, the author writes, “Is it possible that fresh and bitter water can flow out of the same spring? So neither can a bitter spring produce fresh water” (TPT). He’s talking about our words and how we speak. How can we speak words of healing if we are full of bitterness inside? How can we speak life if there our inner well is polluted?
Each one of us have donkeys that fall into our well and die causing our heart to be polluted. The words we speak to others reveal whether we’ve taken it out and refreshed our well or not. I’ve learned that we empty our polluted well by confessing our sins, faults and inner struggles to God and to others (James 5:16). We confess them to God for forgiveness and to people for healing. When’s the last time you looked deep into the well that you’re drawing out of? What kind of water are you giving other people? Take some time today to get alone with God, do some self examination and get healed so that you can produce fresh, clean water that others can drink from.
When I was in the Fifth grade, lunch time consisted of a group of us who spent that time doing a put down contest. Every day we sat there with one person on one side of the table against a person from the other side. The two would trade put downs until one person ran out of them or someone cried. As kids, we had no idea how dangerous this exercise was. Words are more powerful than we realized. My fear is that some from that group have spent a life time putting others down constantly or worse, putting themselves down. So many people are constantly putting themselves down with their own words.
Jude 1:20 says, “But you, dear friends, must build each other up in your most holy faith” (NLT). That’s a command to do the exact opposite of what we’ve been taught to do. We have to train ourselves to quit looking in the mirror and telling ourselves what’s wrong with us. We have to learn to quit saying what our limitations are and why we can’t do things. Building up involves talking about what you can do and what your qualities are. When you consistently tell yourself the qualities God has given you, you shift the talk track in your mind from negative to positive. You begin to build up rather than tear down.
We need to learn to do this for other people as well. Imagine if you had someone constantly telling you what’s right with you. That would affect your day and how you see yourself. So why not start it off today? Find someone and build them up today by telling them a God-given quality they have and why it’s important. Building each other up is part of God’s design for community. We all need to be reminded daily of the positive qualities we have and how they affect the world around us. Let’s quit putting ourselves and others down and begin to act the way God intended by building others up.
They say there are four things you can never take back: the stone after it’s thrown, the moment after it’s missed, the time after it’s gone and the word after it’s spoken. There are many things in life you can undo, but words spoken in anger or in the heat of the moment usually hit their intended target and do damage beyond repair. Words can be powerful weapons that destroy or they can bring life to someone. It’s amazing how much they can affect us.
I was training a sales psychology where we look at reluctances of people. As we went through them one by one, the test showed that a person in my class was afraid to admit he was in sales. He had made a good living at it, but in that moment, a lightbulb went off. He said, “I know why that’s there. A few years ago, my mom asked, ‘When are you going to get a real job?’” Her words echoed in his subconscious and were affecting his ability to make money.
Those words were spoken only once and in a passing moment, but they stuck. Each of us have words that were spoken to us somewhere along the line that are limiting our ability to love ourself, to make more money, to love certain people, to see our own potential or to have a higher self esteem. Those words float around in the back of our mind, and keep us from so much. We need to set ourselves free from their power and quit letting them hold us back.
Along the same lines, we need to learn to speak the right words to ourself and to others. In Psalm 141:3, there is a prayer we all need to pray. It says, “Take control of what I say, O Lord, and guard my lips” (NLT). Whether it’s words you are telling yourself or to others, give control of what you say to God. Let Him be your filter so you can live a limitless life, and allow others to do the same. You can never get your words back, so choose wisely.