I was a well-loved child. I enjoyed being the center of attention and loved making people smile. I have always had a lot to say, so I have always talked a little too much, especially in school. My poor teachers! I remember my first-grade teacher like it was yesterday. She was a young, beautiful and blonde-haired angel. Her name was Miss Harris. I liked her instantly. I was desperate for her to like me too, and I’m sure I talked her ear off when we first met. On the first day of school, she had to remind me, with very serious eyes, that I needed to raise my hand before speaking and to wait to be called on before commenting on the topic at hand. I was so embarrassed. I left the first day of first grade deflated. I was done with school. For some unknown reason, my Mom was not able to walk me to my classroom the next day. This time, it was my older sister, Paula, who dropped me off. When we got to the classroom door, I grabbed Paula’s hand and started crying. “Please don’t make me go in there; I don’t like school; my teacher doesn’t like me,” I pleaded with Paula. I was making a spectacle of myself, and my sister was at a loss for what to do. Then I gripped a pole with my other hand and passionately refused to go into my class. Then out of nowhere one of our town’s ministers, Reverend Norman, stepped in to help. He told Paula she could go on to her class. He told her that he had the situation in hand. He was a very tall and round man with soft hands and a nice smile. I remember that he was wearing a dark suit complete with tie. He leaned over and with his kind eyes asked me, “What’s wrong?” Through my tears I explained that I had the perfect teacher, but I was sure that Miss Harris “didn’t like me because I talk too much.” He knelt beside me and looked straight into my soul and spoke tenderly. He replied, “I know your teacher, and you are just the kind of little girl Miss Harris loves to teach.” Then he smiled and said “I’m sure you will always be your teacher’s favorite.” Next, he put my hand in his and walked me into my classroom. I waved good-bye and beamed as he left. My teacher would love me! I would be her favorite! Reverend Norman’s simple and kind words meant the world to me. Eventually, I did become Miss Harris’s favorite. And, I must admit, I became many of my other teacher’s favorite too. Well, I did for those teachers who had patience for a chatter box 😊.
Years later when I graduated from high school, I wrote Reverend Norman a note. I thanked him again for taking time out of his busy day to help me all those many years ago. I also thanked that man of God for the kind words he spoke to my young soul and for helping me start my school career feeling special and loved. I always assumed that I was appreciated and loved by my teachers. So, I loved school back. My success in school was partly due to the gentle words Reverend Norman spoke to me the morning of my second day of the first grade. It’s amazing to me how powerful the words we speak can be to one another. Words really do matter! One kind word can change someone’s day or someone’s life!
Jody and I counsel married couples, and sometimes we find that many never had a Reverend Norman to save the day. Sometimes as a couple sits on our couch, it becomes obvious that both their hearts are empty. The saddest souls are those who haven’t heard enough kind words. They feel numb. They may have grown up in homes where verbal affirmation was foreign or simply not done. Or, they are now married to people who don’t understand how important it is to speak kind and considerate words. Most often one or both of the couple are miserable. They are starved for their spouse to take the time to compliment them on what they are doing well, to notice and thank them for their contribution to the family and to see their struggles and graciously offer hope, support and love! Almost always, these people receive love best through affirming words (see past post for more explanation on the languages our hearts speak https://wordwashedwife.com/blog/2017/9/24/love-the-language). Yet, they are married to someone who either criticizes without thinking or who gives no verbal praise at all. There is a Japanese proverb that says, “One kind word can warm three winter months.” These couples have been freezing in a perpetual state of winter. You may be thinking, “Yes, that is me!” You may be the one who needs a kind word. Or, you may now realize what it is that your spouse needs from you. It is important to know that in order for your marriage to truly reflect the Gospel of Christ, you must love your spouse through both words and deeds. Kind words are important!
I believe in the power of God’s words. He spoke creation into existence (Genesis 1:3). In a burning bush He spoke into place a way for Israel to escape from slavery (Exodus 3:4-6). From a cloud, He affirmed His son Jesus as John baptized Him in the river (Matthew 3:17). Each and every word of scripture is important! There are no “second-class verses.” Every word of scripture has meaning and gives life!
On this I hope we all agree. But, do you realize the power of your words? I encourage you right now to read the following verses from Proverbs and consider the power you possess to hurt or to bless others with your words.
Proverbs 16:24 says that words filled with grace are sweet to the soul and bring healing to our bodies. Gracious words are powerful, they are nourishing to our soul and make us feel good. Do you know anyone who needs nourishing or healing today? Go, and speak words of grace over them.
Proverbs 12: 25 speaks to the effect kind words have on anxiety. God acknowledges that anxiety can weigh down your soul, but kind words can lift it up, or bring it a little cheer. If you are anxious, find someone who in love will speak grace to you. I know too many people battling with anxiety. Is it because we have stopped speaking kind words to each other? We have replaced kind human interactions with text, email and emoji. If your spouse is anxious, do not ridicule. Instead, speak grace-filled words and remind your spouse of all of God’s promises. Start with a review of the names of God – I believe anxiety will flee and that God will provide and heal!
Proverbs 15:1 states that spoken kindness turns away wrath, while harsh words stir up anger! If your home is filled with anger, consider your responses. Even if you are not at fault, and for the sake of the argument, practice humility and respond with grace and the love of Christ. It is hard to remain angry with someone who does not fight back and who reflects back Christ’s love!
Proverbs 15:4 says that a tongue that speaks grace is compared to the tree of life, while a mean tongue can crush someone’s spirit. Each and every time we speak to our spouse in disgust or condescension, we chip away at their self-esteem. But when we speak of God’s love in a gentle and kind way, we become the very stuff that is needed to continue on with life! The tree of life is a symbol of a fresh start, happiness and peace. May that be the aim of every word we say to our spouse, to our children, to our co-workers, and to our neighbors and friends.
Our words truly make a difference. Please consider yours today. Write a note and put it on your mirror to remind yourself that : “Words Are Important.” Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him (Proverbs 30:5). We can’t have flawless speech without a miracle, but I believe that your spouse will settle for better than yesterday 😊.
Here are some powerful words that we all need to use more often:
I love you!
I forgive you.
I am sorry. Will you forgive me?
I will never leave you.
I am proud of you.
Stay washed in the word of God, brothers and sisters in Christ. Love your spouse and family well with your actions and with YOUR WORDS!
Keep reading, kind friend!
Your own soul is nourished when you are kind,
But you destroy yourself when you are cruel.
Set a guard over my mouth, Lord;
Keep watch over the door of my lips.