Have you ever stopped to consider the words that come from your mouth? Are you speaking life into your family, or are you hurting your loved ones with destructive speech? Life is challenging for everyone, so it’s even more vital that you weigh your words wisely.
You don’t want to speak out of anger and say things you regret, as some things you can’t take back. The Bible says that your tongue holds the power of life and death in Proverbs 18:21. What a profound statement that the words that come from your mouth can speak life or death to someone.
Have you ever told your child that something they said or did was “dumb” or “stupid?” You might not have meant anything mean with those words, but your tone and the very connotation could be devastating to them.
The Power of the Spoken Word
Years ago, Prince Charles told people that he liked talking to his plants as it helped them grow. People thought he was a little off-balanced for making such a statement. After all, plants are not people and don’t have minds, bodies, and spirits.
However, Ikea decided to do a test using the old theory that you can talk bad to a plant, and it will die. The officials got two plants for the experiment. One plant was to be treated harshly and spoken negatively for 30 days.
The other plant was spoken to kindly and told that it was beautiful. For 30 days, a class of kids did as the researchers requested. It didn’t take a month to find out how this experiment would go.
Within just a couple of weeks, the plant being spoken to so harshly began to die. Its leaves were withering away despite getting the same water and nutrients as the other plant. At the end of the 30 days, officials knew that the rumors of talking negatively to a plant and killing it were true.
Now, stop and think about this experiment for a minute. If the harsh words spoken by some school-aged kids had such an effect on a plant, then how much more of an effect does it have on a human being? You can contrast the positive spoken words with God and His goodness.
It’s also effortless to compare the negative comments and destructiveness with Satan. Since the beginning of time, God spoke things into existence. He didn’t need to do anything more than open His mouth to create the earth, seas, and the heavens above.
You cannot speak things into existence like God, but you can say the right words to build your child. You can make them something great by using positive encouragement, or you can destroy them by using chronic negativity.
Deciding What Kind of Person You Want to Be
Everyone has byword phrases that are commonplace in their language. I will never forget an instance that happened to me when I was at an amusement park as a child. I was standing in line waiting for the roller coaster with my family.
The people beside us were having difficulty controlling their children, and the mother was quite vocal about their disobedience. One of her children was more rambunctious than the others. He was weaving in and out of the lines feeling antsy from standing for so long.
His mother’s fury was mounting as she couldn’t keep control of her child. People were getting aggravated and looking to her to resolve the issue. Frustrated, she looked at her son and said, “I am so tired of you and how you act that I wish you were never born.” I could see the child stop in his tracks as tears mounted in his eyes.
She didn’t offer sound correction to him, but rather she cut him to the quick by questioning his very existence. I never forgot that instance that day or the way it made me feel. I knew I had to be a better father to my kids and watch each word that came out of my mouth.
Not only are my children and those around me listening to what I say, but I have a Father in heaven who is taking inventory of my language. I want to build my kids and never tear them down. Imagine growing up in life with the words that someone wished you weren’t born hanging over your head.
Speaking Life-Giving Words
It sounds odd to take inventory of the words you use, but have you ever stopped and considered your vocabulary? In Psalms 139:23, David writes for God to search him and know his heart. He asks him to try his thoughts and see if there’s any wicked way in him.
These are powerful words when you consider that the thoughts that go through your mind can be very destructive. Thank God many of these words don’t come out of your mouth, but you can stop the negative inner chatter by allowing God to control your tongue.
Do you want to speak blessings and not curses to the ones you love? Here are some questions to ask yourself about the words you use.
1. Do my words lift or tear down others?
Weight each word that comes out of your mouth. Use the motto that if you couldn’t say the word to Jesus, you shouldn’t be saying it at all.
2. Are the words that come out of my mouth true?
Not all words will be lifting or destructive, but you must ensure that the words coming from your mouth are true. Even a little white lie is a big problem in God’s eyes.
So many parents tell their kids things that are dishonest to make them behave. Make sure every word that comes out of your mouth is honest, or your children will soon pick up on the inconsistencies.
3. Are your statements positive or negative?
Sometimes people use negative statements even if they’re not directly attacking others. Your speech can be a big indication of how you feel on the inside.
In Luke 6:45, the Bible says that whatever is in your heart is what’s going to come out of your mouth. So make sure your statements are positive and not darkened with pessimism.
4. Is Your Statements Lifegiving?
No one’s life is perfect, and every person on this earth will have both good and bad days. Sometimes a child or an adult just needs to hear that everything will be okay. In 2 Timothy 1, God sent Paul to go and encourage Timothy.
He was going through a hard time as a young minister, and God wanted him to know that he was walking the right path and doing what was required of him.
Take time to let your children know you’re there for them. You must provide instruction to keep them on the straight path, but it would be best if you ruled with love. Your words make a significant impact on your child’s life.
Don’t Let Anger Rule Your Vocabulary
Life-giving words can come with instruction. I remember the day my daughter was learning to ride her pedal car. She was a toddler, around two years of age, but I knew I had to teach her the importance of staying away from the road.
Wouldn’t you know that the first place she headed was the street? I was furious as I told her no, but she kept going anyway. I ruffled my brow and told her to get away from the road, or she was going into time out. I didn’t yell, call names, or say anything I would regret, but I gave her life instructions that she needed.
I had the best interest of my child in mind, and I wasn’t angry at her actions as much as I was worried about the consequences. I taught her a lesson about the street that day as a loving father, but I didn’t need to be mean or nasty to do it.
How different would it have been if that woman at the amusement park did the same for her son? Your words have power, so weigh each one wisely.
A Pray for Change
Lord, I am human and fail significantly. Sometimes my words get the best of me, and I say and do things I don’t mean. I want to be a good person who loves and serves you, but I also want to speak life to my family instead of negativity. I know the power of life and death is in the tongue, so please help me speak life into the people that I love so much. Amen.