April 14, 2015
Prayer by Mrs. Tricia Glidewell, Academic Dean
As I thought about our focus of ardent love of neighbor, words that we read in a recent Lenten book study at our church came to mind. Craig Groeschel has written a book called “Soul Detox” that some of us read during Lent. Many of us gave up something for Lent so we decided to use Groeschel’s book to help us give up some of the toxic influences in our lives.
One of the most meaningful chapters was on Lethal Language – you know, those words others speak that hurt and linger in our memories. I ask you to stop and think for a moment about a time when someone spoke words about you that hurt you or that you’ve never forgotten? You know those words that play like a tape or a CD in your brain that just won’t go away. Go ahead and think about that time. I’m going to wait a few seconds for you to think about it.
What was the impact? Did the words make you feel badly about yourself? How long did that feeling last?
Psalm 64:3 Evildoers sharpen their tongues like swords and aim cruel words like deadly arrows.
Not all people who hurt us with words are evildoers. Some people are just reckless and don’t think about the impact of their words. Nevertheless, the words spoken by both groups are spirit-crushing words.
Now I want you to think about a time when someone said something to you that was so encouraging or complimentary or so meaningful that you can remember where you were and what you were doing when it happened? I’ll give you a moment to think of a time like that.
How did you feel? Did you feel good, appreciated, worthy, encouraged? How long did that feeling last? How did you feel about that person who said the positive thing about you?
Proverbs 12:18 Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.
Proverbs 15:4 The tongue that brings healing is a tree of life, but a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit.
Paul is pretty clear in Ephesians about what kind of talk should come out of our mouths.
Ephesians 4:29a Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths but only what is helpful for building others up.
Craig Groeschel has a phrase that many of us in the book group have embraced, “When you think something positive, say it.”
I’m not talking just about comments like, “Your hair looks nice today.” OR “I really like that shirt?” Those are very nice things to say, but what about digging deeper and talking about something more profound. “You’re a really good listener.” “Your laugh brightens my day.” “Your faith inspires me to want to be more like you.” “You did such a great job of helping me understand how to do those math problems that I made a better grade on the last quiz.”
These are life-giving words!
What are your opportunities to speak life-giving words? To encourage someone who is sad or is hurt or someone who did not do as well on a quiz or a test as he expected. Someone in your neighborhood or family who is alone and sick and could use a visit – just a few minutes of your time. The waiter or cashier who was not treated well by the last person they helped.
Proverbs 4:24-27 Keep your mouth free of perversity; keep corrupt talk far from your lips.
Proverbs 16:24 Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.
Proverbs 25:11 The right word at the right time is like precious gold set in silver.
What choice will you make today about the words you speak? Will they be spirit-crushing or with they be life-giving? Which phrase do you want to be remembered for – for speaking spirit-crushing words or life-giving words?
Life-giving words can be life-changing words. I challenge you to use life-giving words with each other today. Find at least one person today to whom you say a life-giving statement and see the effect it has on them and on you. You may have given up something for Lent, but now I ask you take on something as we move toward Pentecost. Take on the gift of speaking life-giving words for the forty or so days leading up to Pentecost. See the changes life-giving words can make in your life and the lives of others.
Let us pray: Lord, make us aware of opportunities to speak life-giving words. Bring positive words to our minds and make them flow right off our tongues. Help us to change people’s lives with our words. Amen.
Mary, seat of Wisdom, pray for us.