The tongue that heals is a tree of life, but a devious tongue breaks the spirit. – (Proverbs 15:4, HCSB)
Kind words are like a life-giving tree, but lying words will crush your spirit. – (Proverbs 15:4, ERV)
A word of encouragement heals the one who receives it, but a deceitful word breaks the spirit. – (Proverbs 15:4, VOICE)
There is something to be said about encouraging words. They truly give life in the midst of difficulty, especially when the one who extends encouragement is genuine. Conversely, devious or deceitful words can be devastating. As an educator, I am witness to both types of communication. Far too often, kids are speaking crushing words to one another. Intentionally, I choose to speak encouragement at every opportunity possible, as my hope is to combat the negative messages they are receiving. The thing is, words have the power to bring life or destruction to all of us. I imagine we all can recall the way words have impacted us. Even if I do not recall the specific things that those who have spoken life-giving words to me said when I needed it most, I do remember how their kindness made me feel. My hope is that I can extend the same to the people whom God places along my path. May we ever seek the Lord to show us how to offer encouragement to those around us that is life-giving.
O Lord, help us speak,
Words that offer life,
That love may be heard.
Please silence the thoughts,
That need not a voice;
Words that would bring harm,
Let love be our choice.
Lead us in Your love,
To speak as You would;
To lift, encourage,
Choose highlight the good.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that words have the power to encourage and build up. Thank You that as we seek You, You give us words to speak and eyes to see where it is needed most. Forgive us for the times that we have spoken words that have done harm. Show us how to silence the words that wield wounds, and to speak the healing words that You place on our hearts to encourage those around us. Lead us to love people as You do, and use our words to bring light and life and joy. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show us ways to offer encouragement and speak life into the lives of those around us. Amen.
© Shannon Elizabeth Grabrick and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present
The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you – they are full of the Spirit and life. – John 6:63 (Jesus was our ultimate example of life-giving words)