By Erin Lamb
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.
Since I had some time today I wanted to share some little nuggets (insight) with you. I have the poster in my office that I put up a few weeks ago that says, T.H.I.N.K before you speak. The acronym stands for the following:
T- it is true
H-is it helpful
I-is it inspiring
N-is it necessary
K-is it kind
We live in a world that is filled with words. We talk, we write, we text, we tweet, we use Facebook, etc…but how much time goes into thinking about the words we are speaking. People share their opinions all day long and sometimes those opinions are not rooted in truth, nor are they beneficial to the hearer. Paul encourages the church at Ephesus to only speak words that are beneficial to the hearers. I know there are plenty of words I speak that may not be beneficial. They may be true, but not necessary.
The poster is in my office as a reminder, not a rule to live by. We are not bound to only speak scripture or live in a world where we never express our opinions. However, I want my words to build up, not tear down. And if I must use my words for rebuke or reproof, I want them to lead the other person to a better way to do things, not destroy them to the point they can’t recover. Jesus had some stern words if you read the red letters in your Bible, but there was always a purpose for them. He only did what He saw the Father doing. Jesus also offended people and rarely explained Himself, but there was always a greater purpose behind what He was doing. Is there a greater purpose behind what we are speaking?
The words over our lives and the lives of others:
How many times have you spoken a negative word over yourself and then seen it happen? I have several times in my life. Words such as, “I won’t be able to do this. Things will always be this way. That person will never change. This will always be bad.” Those words were empowered the moment they exited my mouth because whether we realize it or not our words are powerful. Proverbs tells us that life and death are in the tongue (Proverbs 18:21). I had a prophetic word given to me last year and the man said that when I spoke I was placing signs in the spiritual realm, much like a sign. So the good words were planted and the bad words were planted. I realized from that word that many things in my life that were negative were tied to my stinking thinking and negative words. I am not saying I can speak and modify the entire universe. God does not serve my every whim, but as a co-heir with Christ I can speak things into existence with my words. He has given us the power to bless and many times we use that power to curse.
Then I thought about the things I said of others. Were my words always edifying? Were they always blessings? Whether or not another person heard them, I still had the choice to use the tool God gave me to bless and help someone through prayer, or hurt someone through negative words.
So my hope for us is that we use our words to bless. I pray our words are true, helpful, inspiring, necessary, and kind. I pray that when people listen to us or spend time with us they leave better than when they came. I pray we cease wounding people with careless words. I pray we speak what God would speak, how He would speak it. And if we must correct or confront someone, I pray they are able to be a better person because of it, not a person crippled or severely wounded. We have great power resting in our words. Let’s use our words to make this world a better place. In Jesus name, Amen.