Words. I love words. I love to read, write, and talk. Words are powerful. Words are precious when offered out out of love, and painful when spewed out of spite. Words can build up; words can tear down. Words can mend wounds or words can create wounds that may never heal. Proverbs 12:18 says,”There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” Words, once spoken, can NEVER be taken back. Just like feathers carried away by the wind they can never all be gathered back again.
We are the only one who can choose how and when we use our words. With that in mind, let us consider ways to cultivate the use of good words and eliminate the use of bad, hurtful words.
1. Guard Your Heart
We read in Proverbs 4:23, “Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life.” The source of all of our words is our heart or mind. We are to protect our hearts with all that we have. If we are filling our minds with worldly entertainment that glamorizes strife and discord, we are sowing the seeds to grow similar words in our hearts. However, if we are feeding our hearts the bread of life and living water, we are preparing the soil of our hearts to bring forth words of love, joy, empathy, and encouragement.
2. Purpose to be Prudent
“Whoever restrains his words has knowledge, and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding.” Proverbs 17:27 Restraint is accomplished by purpose and practice. We should pray for the abilty to be wise when it comes to the use of our words. Restraint, like many other desirable qualities, can be improved upon when put into daily practice. The perfect place to exercise this practice is in the home. We must meditate on the appropriate way to respond to our spouse and children in all types of situations. It can mean the difference between a happy home or cold abode.
3. Think Before you Speak
We have all heard about the “count to ten method” and there really is something to be said about this skill. “Do you see a man who is hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him.” Proverbs 29:20 How many times have we said something in haste without considering the implications involved? If we will only utilize those few seconds before we speak to analyze our words before we release them, we may save ourselves and others from many hurt feelings.
The poet John Dryden said, “Words are but pictures of our thoughts.” They are the fruit of our hearts. What kind of fruit are you cultivating? The fruit of the spirit or the works of the flesh? Praying we will not grow weary of doing good by using our words with wisdom.Just remember, we will reap in due season.