Lately I’ve been thinking about how I want my words to be more loving and more life-giving. Looking in the Scripture we find hundreds and hundreds of Bible verses about what we say. Here are three ways to be more loving with our words.
The first is to think before we speak—to just slow down. I don’t want to rattle off any old words that come to my mind. Instead, why not think for a bit about what would be the most loving thing to say? If we really listen, and then take time to process what the person is communicating, we will have a much better response. “If anyone does not bridle his tongue, his religion is worthless.” (See James 1:26.)
I had a dream the other night that was quite unusual, so I wrote it down and prayed about what it might mean. Often God speaks to us in our dreams, so I didn’t want to miss what He had for me. I dreamed that as I walked around the upper balcony of a castle, I watched men practicing archery down below. They were missing the target over and over. Suddenly I vomited right into the face of one of the men. I hurried along, appalled at myself and then I did it again, and then a third time. Then I woke up. My impression was that God was giving me some gentle correction about how I “spew” my words over people and that they were missing the mark. I am a sensitive and intuitive person and I know if I slow down and take time to think before I speak, I can be much more loving and more of a blessing with what I say.
Secondly, is to live by this motto. “If you don’t have something good to say, don’t say anything at all.” Our words can be cruel. God wants us to be kind. Turn every negative around into a positive. There is always something bad to say about people, but we can choose to look at the positive things and to make comment on them instead. Quietness is preferable to a negative remark. If something negative is being discussed, we can be silent, we can change the subject, or say “Excuse me for a minute.” When my brother died many people shared at his memorial that he never said anything bad about anyone. That inspired me. I want to be like that!
A third way to be more loving with our words is to be thoughtful about what we say. The Bible says, “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver.” (See Proverbs 25:11.) I like to tell short testimonies or stories that are inspiring, encouraging, and give hope to people. I’m trying to give compliments to people more often too. To tell a struggling parent that you think they are an awesome mom or dad, may be just the encouragement they need to spur them on. I like to say “thank you” to teachers or someone who has helped me in some way. As I was leaving a folk dance class I said, “Thank you!” to one of the teachers. It came as a shock because no one had said thank you for about ten years! “Thank you”, “You’re awesome”, and “Good work” are all wonderful expressions to say often. Complaints are discouraging, but compliments are encouraging.
“A seed never looks like the plant. We often sow seeds into the lives of people, only to discover years later, that an orchard sprouted from our tiny investment. Never under estimate the value of a kind word, a compliment, or an act of generosity. Who knows what might be growing in the hearts of people because of you?” –Kris Vallotton