Author: Helen Mitchell
“…we will hold to the truth in love, becoming more and more in every way like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church.” Ephesians 4:15 (NLT)
Words have the power to build up or take down. To give life or to destroy. To encourage or to discourage.
Mastering our words is more than counting to ten in the middle of conflict or biting our tongue when that proposed plan is presented yet you know it won’t work.
One of the most common mistakes in organizations is the lack of performance feedback and regular performance reviews. Experience shows that the feedback and reviews are superficial if they occur at all. We love to give the praises but tend to coat over the areas for improvement and shy away from conflict or we sit on them in a seat of judgment. Most people struggle with telling the truth in love. Feedback and telling the truth isn’t reserved for our supervisor and our annual review – we have opportunities with our words everyday at home, in our workplace and in our community.
God knows how powerful words are. In Genesis 1, he spoke the world and life into existence. But God is so merciful and Psalm 103:14 says he knows how we are made which includes at times having trouble handing the responsibility and the power of words.
The Power of Words:
My mouth directs where I go. – “Look also at ships: although they are so large and are driven by fierce winds, they are turned by a very small rudder wherever the pilot desires.” James 3:4 (NKJV)
My mouth can destroy what I have. – “The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.” James 3:6 (NIV)
My mouth displays who I really am. – “The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.” Luke 6:45 (NIV)
The Responsibility of Words:
Speaking the truth in love…
Check your motives. – “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. "Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” Matthew 7:1-3 (NIV)
Plan your presentation. – “Intelligent people think before they speak; what they say is then more persuasive.” Proverbs 16:23 (TEV)
Give them affirmation. – “A word of encouragement does wonders!” Proverbs 12:25 (LB)
Risk their rejection. “Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.”
1 Corinthians 13:6 (NIV)
Until next week...
1. Is there someone in your life who has spoken words to you that hurt and wounded you? What would it take to forgive them for those careless words? Why would you want to continue to nurture that hole in your heart? Give it to Jesus. Afterall, he paid for that healing on the cross.
2. Is there someone you have hurt with your words? Did you wound or withhold truth that they needed to hear? Who do you need to be reconciled with this week?
3. This week, as you walk as one entrusted with the power and responsibility of words, ask God who you can build up and encourage for his benefit and theirs.