Last time, I talked about the negative power of words. We saw the destruction of man’s words in other people’s lives.
Proverbs 15:4 says “The tongue that brings healing is a tree of life—but a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit.” I have seen this happen with my children. I have seen my words “crush the spirit.”
I have struggled all of my life with the words that I say. It has been my natural inclination (sin nature!) to use my words in a hurtful way. And it is not always just the words, but the tone of my voice that carries the meaning of hurt.
My youngest son has a tender heart and when he was young, if I used harsh words, his countenance would wilt. I watched this with my own eyes as his shoulders sagged, and his head went down showing his heartache of being hurt by my words and the tone of my voice.
But how do our words bring healing? How can our tongue be a tree of life?
Well…because I have difficulty controlling my tongue, I have purposely worked to make my words encouraging, pleasant, and truthful. I have witnessed the change in my children’s countenance as I brought encouragement and came alongside them in love. Their eyes sparkled. They stood up taller. My son’s chest would almost puff out sometimes.
And I saw them more willing to help, and they began to try to be an encourager. My son’s words often brought healing to me when I was down. He learned to speak encouraging words. And he began to become “a tree of life.”
Last time I mentioned that many of my ideas on the power of words come from a sermon that an elder of our church preached called “More Than Words…It’s the Heart.” In it he describes how Carl Hempe gave a 30 minute speech to George Foreman, former heavy weight boxing champion, when he was a young man that spurred him on to excellence. These few words changed George Foreman’s outlook on life. And Foreman went on to speak encouragement into many other lives as well.
Both men used their words to build up others in their walk with God.
Ecclesiastes 10:12 says, “Words from the mouth of a wise man are gracious…”
Our elder said in his sermon,
“Solomon is right…[Gracious words] are kind in their content—caring in their form—and potent in their presentation. Such words are relational…they are spoken with affection—in hope and with commendation. They are words of truth that flow from a stable heart…for the sole good of the listener.
“Such words build bridges—lift spirits—inspire good—heal the hurting—change attitudes—save lives—and transform destinies. They are the words of grace from men of character—building blocks for encouraging construction.”
This is the positive power of words: Gracious words that build up one another and become a tree of life.