Have you ever heard the following saying and out of your own experience do you believe that it is true?“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never harm me.”
We probably all have experiences how words can be very powerful. They can build us and others up or they can tear us down and hurt us. The Bible has a lot to say about our words, our mouth and the use of our tongue and it comes with a stark warning - read Matthew 12:35.
What helps here is to know what the purpose of our words is. Paul tells us in the book of Ephesians that our words should “edify”
(oidodomen) that is build up those around us. The root of this word (oidodomen) means ‘to build a home.’
We want to and are called to build beautiful homes. Not just in the context of husband and wife and two children but in all relationship settings. At work, Uni, school, friends, relatives, neighbors and we can do so with our words.
Read the following scripture – what does it tell us in terms of our words and behavior towards others?Ephesians 4:29-32 (TPT)29 And never let ugly or hateful words come from your mouth, but instead let your words become beautiful gifts that encourage others; do this by speaking words of grace to help them.31 Lay aside bitter words, temper tantrums, revenge, profanity, and insults. 32 But instead be kind and affectionate toward one another. Ephesians 4:29-32 (TPT)
Paul commands us that we are not to let any “unwholesome (sapros) word” come out of our mouths. Sapros has the meaning of something that is rotten. The truth is that our words can produce decay in other people’s live especially in those close to us.Proverbs 15 (TPT) Respond gently when you are confronted and you’ll defuse the rage of another. Responding with sharp, cutting words only make it worse. Don’t you know that being angry can ruin the testimony of even the wisest of men? When you speak healing words, you offer others fruit from the tree of life. But unhealthy, negative words do nothing but crush their hopes.Proverbs 16:24 (TPT)24 Nothing is more appealing than speaking beautiful, life-giving words. For they release sweetness to our souls and inner healing to our spirits.Proverbs 18:21 (MSG)Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit—you choose.
The beautiful thing is that we can choose. We all have been given what I call “the split second of grace” were all sorts of different scenarios can go through my head and I still have enough time to decide how I react.
We cannot always control what comes inside us, but we can control what we let out. It’s like our brain is a filing cabinet. In a spit second, it goes through the files of how I could react, what I could say.
We need to have files for words and images that have a “never to be used” sign on it. I will never call my children stupid. I will never make my husband feel small. We need to have a pre-determination that we will be people that build others up. That we are people that build beautiful homes wherever we are.
Read the following Life Mottos and discuss how you can practice these in your relationships.
#1 Romans 12:18 (NIV) - 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
#2 Ephesians 4:26 (NIV)- 26 “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry.
#3: “I will never say anything that couldn’t stand as the last thing I ever say.” Auschwitz Survivor
#4 If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all…and don’t put it on Facebook either.
The beautiful thing is that God has equipped us with everything we need for life and godliness:
2 Timothy 1:7 (NIRV) - 7 God gave us his Spirit. And the Spirit doesn’t make us weak and fearful. Instead, the Spirit gives us power and love. He helps us control ourselves.
Make some room for prayer:
People that had negative words spoken over them and need ministry and healing.
People that need a new beginning and make a new decision to be wise with their words.Discussion Questions
1. Positive words can bring big benefits to the giver and the recipient. Discuss the benefits.
2. Quote: “Be careful with your words. Once they are said, they can be only forgiven, not forgotten”. Discuss this quote.
3. Can you recall any positive or negative words spoken over you in the past? Pray for each other over these words.