Use Your Words
Words. So often we forget the immense power they hold. Words have the power to encourage and bless. They also have the power to damage and hurt.
Sunday morning, I told the story of Jesus and the children from Mark 10:13-16 to the preteens. As we unpacked this all too familiar story, we talked about something I’d never really thought about. I asked them, “How do you think the children felt when the disciples rebuked their parents?” I got answers like, “They probably were sad,” or “They felt like they weren’t important.” It’s amazing how words, not even spoken directly to us, have the power to bless or hurt.
When we look closely at this story, we see two ways our words affect others. The first example is the disciples. These men who spent all of their time with Jesus are the ones set before us as hurting people with their words. When the parents tried to get to Jesus, they rebuked them. I can just imagine Peter or James saying, “He doesn’t have time to deal with your children. Can’t you see that he has more important things to do today? Why on earth would you think he wants to touch your kids?” And these words hurt. They hurt the parents. They hurt the children. And by Jesus’ reaction, I would guess that they hurt him, too. He got angry.
Then we see the second way that we can use our words. Even though he was angry at the disciples, Jesus spoke kindly not only the parents and children, but to the disciples as well. His words uplift these children by making them an example of what a disciple should look like. I’m guessing that the disciples felt at least a little sheepish. The ones they’d been eager to turn away a few seconds earlier were suddenly held up as the example of what they should be. Then we see that Jesus blessed these children.
We have two options with our words. We can use our words to damage and to hurt. Or we can use our words to bless and encourage. We all know what the right choice is. The problem is that it is easy to say that we should use kind words, but more often than not, those are not the words that come out of our mouths. We end up hurting people, whether consciously or unconsciously.
So that’s my challenge to you this week. Examine your words. Are they kind? Is what comes out of your mouth going to lift up the person to whom you’re speaking or is it something that will be hurtful? Is your motive in speaking encouragement or are you more concerned with making a point than considering the person opposite you? As you speak this week, be conscious of what you say. Use kind words. Encourage those around you. Show others the light of Christ through what you speak.