We are so careless with our words in our culture today. Daytime talk shows promote confrontation and humiliation as acceptable forms of communication. Today’s media is more bent on finding dirt than an obsessive-compulsive housewife with a Dustbuster. Today, young children and teens use electronic devices to send vicious messages about people they don’t like; messages for all the world to read, words that can never be taken back.
“Words can never hurt me?” Think again.
The Bible--God's love letter to us--speaks of the power of our words. Check out this jewel from the book of Proverbs: Pleasant words are like honey-- sweet to the soul and healthy for the body (Proverbs 16:24, NLT). Did you get that? Encouraging words are not only pleasant to our ears they are beneficial to us spiritually and physically.
Stop right now and think about the kindest, most encouraging thing anyone ever said to you. Got it? My guess is it didn’t take you very long. You can probably recall it word for word. That is because those words will forever be imprinted on your soul.
Self-help guru Dale Carnegie said, “Perhaps you will forget tomorrow the kind words you say today, but the recipient may cherish them for a lifetime.” When someone pays us a compliment we often find ourselves walking on air for days. We get a lot of mileage out of encouraging words. They can lift and energize our spirits which is beneficial not only to us, but to those around us.
In addition to sweetening our souls a regular dose of encouraging words has lasting health benefits. Those trained in psychology know this to be true. There are various modes of therapy in today’s world that integrate the use of words to heal. Therapists have harnessed the power of words to motivate, inspire, and activate healing energies in people. It is a fact that our words connect with our memory systems and can trigger the release of either healing or destructive powers. Greek playwright Aeschylus once said, “Words are the physicians of a mind diseased.”
Another verse in the book of Proverbs speaks to the health benefits of encouragement: Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, but a good word makes it glad (Proverbs 12:25, NKJV). Few things cause our hearts to be anxious and our spirits depressed like critical, condescending words, especially from people whom we look up to. Positive, uplifting words from those whose opinions we value can brighten our hearts and spirits.
Here's a challenge for you. For the rest of the day, look for opportunities to speak words of encouragement to those around you. Refrain from all negative talk. Compliment your spouse or server. Tell your kids what you love about them. Post only positive messages on Facebook. Your kind words may be just what the doctor ordered for someone today. Trust me. It's not that difficult. And the effects can be lifechanging. Perhaps Mother Theresa said it best, “Kind words can be short and easy to speak but their echoes are endless.”
(excerpts taken from When Father is a Bad Word, by Dan Kuiper)