Proverbs 23:24″Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.”
My grandmother was one of the sweetest most humble people I have ever known. She had the ability to make anyone feel welcome and loved within just a few moments of meeting her. It did not matter if you were part of the family or friend or a new acquaintance. She loved people and her words were always pleasant.
She had this sweet smile that would spread across her face when she would see you and you were instantly enveloped into those soft warm arms. She would always say “hello honey, I am so glad to see you.” It did not matter if she was sick, or tired she always loved to talk to you and feed you.
Over the years there were many opportunities for her to have a bad word or two to say about some of the circumstances and people in our family, but she did not do it. She always made a point to try and keep her words pleasant, her comments kind. She did not do this to make herself look and sound good, she did it because she loved the Lord and pleasing him with her lips meant more than her opinion. She knew the damage that words can do to a soul.
Her words were always encouraging, funny, light-hearted, full of compassion and love. Everyone was treated with the same kind of actions and words. In other words, her walk matched her talk. If she found someone who was downcast, she would do her best to encourage them.
All too often we are very slack when it comes to even the tone of our voice. We can hurt someone simply by the way we answer them whether our intent is to do so or not. We are all too often very flippant with our words, throwing them around wreckless without respect for the hearers.
Proverbs 18:21 “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” We can either eat good fruit or bad fruit, but we will all eat. When you use your words to tear down someone in anger without any thought to how you will right the situation then you will most likely forever damage your relationship with that person in some way by what you said. I am sorry can be spoken, but a person can never un-hear what was said to them. Forgiveness can come, but that person is forever changed by what you said, or you are forever changed by someones unkind words to you.
I can remember so many of the pleasant conversations I had with my grandmother and to this day it is like a warm hug from her, encouraging me and giving me just enough confidence to keep marching on. I can also remember words that cut me to the core, words that altered my opinion of myself in a negative way and kept me in a bad place for a long time. The hurt and sting are gone, forgiveness has been given and everyone has moved on, and I do not think of them except when talking to someone about our words and how they wound. God healed that for me. It took a long time for the impact they had on me to go away.
Use your words to build up and not tear down. They should not be flaming arrows that tear and burn on impact. Instead, they should be like a warm hug full of love that evokes lightness and encouragement. There are times that our words are fun-loving, there are times when they are soft and reverent. There are also times when our words need to be firm, constructive or even disciplined, but even in those times, they can be kind and pleasant in their tone. Screaming at someone at the top of your lungs in a hateful way is not going to make them do anything, but it will hurt them deeply and if that is your aim, then…
Jesus was angry and probably loud in his tone when he found the temple being used in the wrong way, people buying and selling, He had a righteous anger and loudness and firmness were probably needed to be heard over the activities. And there are moments where righteous anger should be forceful, but most of the time we can instruct or criticize in a tender and kind way.
I am guilty. There have been too many times in my life that I was not careful with my words, I used them as weapons and it hurts me to think about it now. Those moments of sin have been washed away by the blood of Jesus, but I still know that I said them and it still makes me sad. I cannot take them back and I so desperately wish I could. Anyone else been there!
If you find yourself saying, Oh this is me, I do not weigh my words, I am not a person who encourages or is pleasant in your tone most of the time, well,
I think right now is a good time to repent before the Lord and start using words that are encouraging and pleasant and build up instead of tearing down. It is never too late to repent before the Lord and start fresh and new. He is the God of forgiveness, healing, and restoration. And if there is someone you need to say “I am sorry” to then do it. Do not waste time, we may only have today!