Proverbs 16:24 NLT “Kind words are like honey — sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.”
From a very young age, I learned that words have a massive impact on our lives. Words can be used in healthy, convicting conversations that can mend relationships. Words can also be used in destructive, vicious confrontations that tear apart relationships. I’ve felt the effects of both.
At age fourteen, my family was made aware that I had been inappropriately taken advantage of by my grandfather.
This warped situation was brought to light when God used my cousin to show me that I was not the only victim and the wise thing to do would be to share this devastating news with my family. My cousin’s words were the catalyst for me telling my family.
After hearing the news, my mother confronted my grandfather. By using her words to protect me, she made me feel loved and sheltered. Her words and actions built me up in a season of anguish.
All of this brokenness was revisited when my grandfather passed away suddenly from a brain aneurysm. My grandmother did not handle his death well at all. She unleashed her hurt and pain onto me, lashing out because she somehow blamed me for his death.
I realize now that my grandmother’s words had little to do with her disappointment in me and more to do with the hurt she was experiencing. However, the words she said to me were ones that she could never take back — words that still echo in my mind and caused wounds that may never heal.
This morning, my devotional reading started off with this saying: “We pour ourselves into so many cups, but in the mundane, kindness disrupts.”
Our world is surprised by kindness. Acts of kindness, words of kindness. People around us are so used to wanting to get the last word…or be the funniest…or make sure they get what they “deserve.” As Christians, we need to be extra careful with our words.
We know that Jesus is a perfect example of kindness. As He walked on earth, he knew how to turn a frown into a smile and how to turn hopeless eyes into hope-filled eyes. He spoke words of life. He healed. He corrected with love. If we are to be like him, we must learn to rein in our words.
“…let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.”
My fiancé’s 10-year-old daughter recently asked me, “How long have you been a Christian?” Together we calculated the years and I realized — I have been a follower of Jesus for 28 years. She thought it was amazing and encouraging that my journey started so long ago. She had no idea her simple question was actually breaking my heart inside.
My heart broke as I looked back on my 28 years of being a Christian. Even though I have been a Christian for many years, I haven’t consistently walked hand-in-hand with Jesus. Because of this, there have been many times when I have failed to use my words to speak life and encouragement.
Thankfully, Jesus is refining me in my journey of living for Him. As I continue to mature in my faith, I become more and more aware of the impact of my words and am choosing to use them for the good of His Kingdom.
Jesus is the light in the darkness. It is this light that gives life to others. In Matthew 5:14 Jesus tells us:
“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill that cannot be hidden.”
Look for the people who need a kind word in this holiday season.
Start small – Compliment a sweater or a smile.
Level up – Encourage someone in their abilities (skills or spiritual gifts).
Bonus round – Tell a family member why you’re thankful for them.
Boss level – Develop a godly friendship that allows for steady encouragement and healthy confrontations.
~ Dawn W.