There is such power in our words - especially in how we use them in relationships. Last year I wrote a post entitled the power of "life-affirming" and "redeeming" words that addressed the importance of how words affect us. These past few months I have been considering the same concept but put more specifically into the context of our relationships. The way that we speak to each other, the words that we choose to use, the type of words that we choose to use, the way that we communicate with each other, etc has such importance to each and every relationship we have.
Proverbs 18:21 states that "the tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit".
These past few months I have really been considering Proverbs 18:21 a lot - especially as a single woman who prays that one day I will be a good wife to my future husband. There have been times that I have had harsh words spoken to my tender heart and they have crushed me. There have been times that I have truly been shocked at the way that other Christians have handled disagreements and used their words to speak death into a situation. There have been times that my soft heart has wept due to the insensitivity of a reckless word spoken to me. (I shared a little bit about this in my post entitled lack of understanding in the single journey.)
But then... these past months I have also stopped an examined my own words that I have used to others. While I haven't ever intentionally tried to be mean or hurtful, I am sure that my own words have been reckless and thoughtless at times and this has truly grieved me.
One thing that I have been intentionally working on is the fact that I want all of my words to be gracious and seasoned with sweetness to each person that hears them. Scripture says that "Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones." (Proverbs 16:24) These are the types of words that I always want flowing from my mouth as they come out of my heart. The more time that I spend with Jesus, the more that I experience all of the grace that He gives to me, and I can't help but express gracious words to others.
We are all going through difficult times. We all have difficult burdens to bear. We are all grieving in different ways. We all have struggles. I am constantly saddened to hear of all of the different struggles that some people have. My prayer is that my words speak into those difficult moments and difficult situations and spread gracious and healing words to each person that I encounter.
Sometimes, it may seem like your words fall on deaf ears and that there was nothing that came from you speaking gracious words to someone. I had this situation earlier this year. I tried to speak gracious and loving words into a relationship where there were horrific words being spoken into my life. I tried loving this person with words and sadly, it came to a point that I needed to put a break in the relationship because it was affecting my health. But you know what? I still tried to reach out and speak life-giving and gracious words to this person behind the scenes in the form of loving written words in cards and packages. I didn't ever receive a response, but that is okay friends. We must continue to do what the Lord calls us to do no matter the response.
You may be in a situation or a relationship like I was where it didn't matter what type of kindness you showed. You may have a friend who has changed and is not speaking life-giving words to you. You may be in a really tough situation with a co-worker or a family member. You may be in a relationship with someone who is not speaking redeeming words to you. Remember... your words have the power to bring life and healing. Keep running to the Lord and laying out your heart before Him. He will meet us at every need. While there are definitely times where boundaries are needed to be placed, don't let that stop you from continuing to spread grace giving words to all those you encounter.
I do want to say a side note. Sometimes I feel that people who have been hurt by others words think that we have been given "freedom" to use our words to belittle or share the faults of others. I received so many messages when I shared earlier this year that I had made the painful decision to end a very toxic and manipulative friendship. I was so saddened to hear from hundreds of you that you have experienced similar things in your lives. My heart truly breaks for all of y'all going through similar situations. I read each of your emails and wept over the hurts that y'all have experienced.
But I do want to say a word of warning. Since I made that difficult decision I have only spoken with a few trusted and godly mentors in my life regarding the details of what took place. I truly believed that the Lord was calling me to live out Exodus 14:14: "The Lord will fight for you you only need to be silent." There were some mutual friends of mine and this other person and I purposed in my heart not to speak one critical thing of the other person, but only took what I had experienced to the Lord.
I share all of that to say... don't let someone else's words or actions become an excuse for your response. You just keep living for the Lord, putting Him before you, and entrusting your heart and your responses to Him. (P.S. I mentioned this several months ago, but the Pastor that I listen to weekly had a wonderful wonderful wonderful three week sermon on friendships that couldn't have been more of a "God-timing" and so challenging and wonderful. If you are looking for a wonderful pastor to listen to who will challenge and encourage your walk with the Lord I can't recommend Jason Tippetts enough. You can find Westside's church sermons HERE.)
So today friends... lets go live our lives remembering that our words have incredible power in relationships- all of our relationships. If you are single and praying for yourself as a future wife, start praying about this area now. Start practicing building life-giving and gracious words into the relationships that the Lord has put before you. And if you are married, words have incredible power in your relationship.
Happy Monday friends! Let us go into our worlds and bring the light of Christ's love and words into our hurting world, spreading our gracious, redeeming, and healing words.