I don’t know about you, but I like to talk. I find so much encouragement finding connections and communicating with the Lord’s people. But at other times, if I’m not careful, my words can quickly become out of control. For me this is one area I always need to keep a close eye on. I recently heard a song on the radio that the lyrics really hit home for me.

“Words can build you up,
Words can break you down.
Start a fire in your heart
Or put it out.
Let my words be life,
Let my words be truth.
I don’t wanna say a word
Unless it points the world back to You.”

Our words can do one of two things. They can connect us to God’s family or they can separate us from each other. What effect do you allow your words to have?

Inclusive words can be some of the most uplifting words. Everyone desires to be included and wanted. The Lord commands us to get together with each other for fellowship, and so often we are excellent at this command. The problem comes when these gatherings are discussed around others who weren’t included. I know personally this can make me feel like I’m alone, why don’t they want to invite me? While the feelings of loneliness are partly the devil’s handiwork, we each have a responsibility to be considerate of each other. Philippians 2:3-4 says, Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interest, but also for the interest of others.” We are commanded here to focus not on ourselves, but to think about how the things we do or say will affect others. Are your words focused on the hearer?

Secondly, our words can be a great blessing to those around us. In Proverbs 16:24 the writer says, “Pleasant words are a honeycomb, Sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” An encouraging word can do so much good for the soul. I think these are the type we often forget. We forget to find the good and see the talents in each other. It’s easy to do for a friend whom you love dearly, but what about the person you just say hello to on Sundays and Wednesdays? How can you encourage them? Jesus knew his disciples needed some encouraging words, too. In John 14:1-2 He said, “Do not let your heart be troubled or discouraged believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you.” Christ encouraged those around him reminding them that there is more to live for than this world. There is something so much greater. Would people reminding you of this bring you encouragement?

Lastly, our words can bring compassion. Compassionate words, I believe, are the hardest words to communicate. Compassionate words require listening, and listening requires time. Compassionate words also require thinking before we speak. Ephesians 4:29 states that our words should be given “according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear it.” There have been times in my life when I have been hurting or struggling and others have given me words of compassion. I hope I will never forget those, because they gave my heart peace. The author of Proverbs states, “A soothing tongue is a tree of life” and “Like apples of gold in settings of silver, is a word spoken in right circumstances.” A compassionate word can help others see Christ; a compassionate word can draw us closer together.

The lyrics above reminded me that my words need to be “gracious and seasoned with salt.” They also reminded me that one day the Lord will bring before me all my words and I will have to give an answer for them. Jesus said in Matthew, “For by your word you will be justified and by your words you will be condemned.” How scary a thought this is to me. That passage stresses the importance of how we should be using our words. Out of our mouths we can bring glory to our Heavenly Father. Out of our mouths we can praise our Creator. Out of our mouths we can point others to Jesus. “I don’t wanna say a word, unless it points the world back to You.”

Amanda O’Banion