When you have children or people who listen to what you say frequently you realise just how much we soak up and often repeat the things that we hear. Kids especially can be like little parrots, repeating much of what we say, both good and bad. The thing is once we have spoken it’s very difficult to take our words back. Much like the analogy of words being like toothpaste.
Imagine if you squeezed all the toothpaste out of the tube, and it was on a saucer in front of you. Now try and put that toothpaste back in the tube. Of course you can’t; once the toothpaste is squeezed out you can’t put it back. The same is true of our words. Words can’t be taken and put back in our mouths. Even if someone demands for us to “take what we’ve just said back, we can’t. You can’t put the words you have just spoken back in your mouth, anymore than you can squeeze toothpaste back into a tube.
Which makes me think that we really should be more careful of the words we say, because our words carry the power of life and death in them. We can build up, encourage, love and bring wisdom and grace with our words; or we can tear down, destroy, hate, fear and spout absolute rubbish. Our words can cut and wound people, and in extreme cases even have the ability to drive people to take their own lives.
But God wants our words to be words that are filled with life. That our words are seasoned with grace, love and hope so that people love being around us because our words lift up and encourage them so much.
The bible says that out of the mouth the heart speaks, so it’s important for us to deal with our hearts; to forgive quickly, keep out of the way of offense, and to fill our hearts with those things that are good, true, praiseworthy, and worth thinking about. For what we allow into our hearts, and what we think upon, is what we are going to say.
“A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart.” (Luke 6:45)
A helpful little acronym is to “THINK” before we speak:
T – it it True?
H – is it Helpful?
I – is it Inspiring?
N- is it Necessary?
K – is it Kind?
Today, consider the value to the listener of the words you speak. THINK before you speak, because once you’ve said something, you can’t take it back easily. Let’s make our words one’s that those listening will want to repeat. And that they are words we especially want little children, and others around us to benefit from hearing.
“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up” (Ephesians 4:29)
Prayer: Lord help me to understand the power of my words, and to not underestimate how much good and bad my words can cause to both myself and those listening to me. Please remind me to guard my heart, for out of my heart my mouth speaks, so that my speech will be full of life giving words today. And “let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord.”(Psalm 19:14). In Jesus Name Amen.