"A man finds joy in giving an apt reply -- and how good is a timely word!" Proverbs 15:23
Words are powerful. They shape lives. Most people can think back to words that were spoken to them as children and recall the impact they had on their lives.
When I was in elementary school I was told that I had my daddy's nose. Now that isn't a bad thing, but from that day until I was well into my 20's I was self-conscious about my nose. I thought it was too big. Through my childish eyes, I looked at my dad's nose and thought it was quite large. I interpreted the remark that was made to mean that I had a large nose. All that was meant by the comment was that my nose was shaped like my dad's. I look back now and laugh about it, but those simple harmless words formed part of my self-image.
As a teenager I visited two elderly neighbor ladies. These two ladies loved to have me visit them. I remember showing them my artwork. You would have thought I was a budding Rembrandt. I would share with them some of my writing, and I felt like I might be the next Louisa May Alcott. Craft projects were of special interest to them as they taught me a lot of what I knew. They made me feel talented and intelligent. It was their words that made the difference. They encouraged me. They made me feel like I could do anything.
The power of a positive word is a resource that I need to tap into. As a mother I get focused on all the little corrections that my children need. I forget to encourage, to uplift, and to speak those words of love they need to hear.
Buelah, one of the sweet neighbor ladies who encouraged me."Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen." Ephesians 4:29 NIV
Regretfully at times I've spoken words that were not wholesome. Sometimes I've demeaned my children. Feelings of regret wash over me almost immediately and I apologize, but the words can't be taken back. I've prayed God would erase those times from their memories, or he would at least help them understand their mom is human and messes up.
Reflecting on the impact of words in my life has made me more determined to clean up my speech. I may not use bad language or tell dirty jokes, but my words are not always beneficial to the listener.
"Set a guard over my mouth, O Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips." Psalms 141:3 NIV
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