Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Loving Words by Jenna Vick Silliman

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


Stephanie Stevens said...

Love this! I have been thinking along the same lines. Our dear family friend Bonny died a couple of weeks ago at a young age. Her son made a video to celebrate her life and the best parts were ones where they had gotten her on film speaking words of life and blessing over her children. Wow. It challenged me to do this more intentionally!

Kerry Luddy said...

Thank you so much! This was convicting, as well as sweetly inspiring.

Lin Maynard said...

Jenna...This is a good word.
I think of how many times a word or words have left my mouth and I want to take them back.
I had 2 incidents recently in which I spoke out of impatience.
It happened to be 2 young ladies.
The first was at a Bowling Alley and the worker did not take my request seriously and I shot back an answer to her.
I left, but it really bothered me. My grandchildren were with me, so it wasn't a good example to them.
I knew I needed to go back and apologize to her.
I went a few days later and as soon as she saw me, she was also apologizing to me. I was glad that I ate humble pie and made the trip.
The second was at a gathering at my grandchildren's school. Again I was impatient and said something to this young woman.
Her face said it all, as she tried to explain herself. I felt like a real jerk. I got out of line to apologize to her. I think she was scared when she saw me approach and then surprised that I said I was wrong.
I don't share these for accolades...but just a reminder to myself that I don't have to always blurt out what is on my mind. If I hold my tongue in the first is the much better place to be,