The day was bright and full of sunshine. My dad and brother grabbed their fishing poles and headed down to our pond. My ten-year-old self had decided that this was the day I was going to be Nancy Drew. I grabbed a pen and a small notepad and sneaked across the barbed wire fence. I followed them down to the pond, found a comfy spot and plopped down, belly first on the red dirt and dry grasses that are native to Oklahoma. I carefully made notations of my dad and brother’s conversation, feeling like a big-time spy. All of a sudden, they turned and started up the small hill. Nancy Drew could not afford getting caught, so I scrambled up and under the barbed wire fence. That’s when I felt the pain radiating from my knee. I looked and a large gash glared red. It turned out that spy work wasn’t for me!
Twenty something years later, I still have a scar right beside my knee cap. It has faded slightly over the years, but undeniably still there.
Just like hurtful words.
The words we say can be a deep gash or a soothing salve to someone’s soul. They can scar or heal. They can be ugly or lovely.
I know that we are called to forgive people who say hurtful things to us. And when we forgive, we should move on and try to forget. But those words can still have a negative impact on us. They can cause us to doubt our talents or our gifts. They can cause us to second guess our joy. They can make us feel negatively towards someone or something.
On the other hand, a word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver. They can encourage us to follow God’s will. They can bring laughter and peace. They can uplift someone or something.
When we teach our children to speak lovely words, we are teaching them how to share the love of Jesus with others.
But it’s not enough to just teach them. We have to model good speech. We have to pray for God to guard our mouths and to help us speak rich, lovely words.
One thing I have found to be helpful in my personal life is to pray Psalms 141:3. This is a good verse for both adults and children to have tucked away in their memory.
I would love to hear ways you and your children speak lovely words to others! Do you write notes of affirmation? Do you seek out those that seem sad or lonely and try to uplift them in some way? Leave me a comment below and I’ll be posting some of your ideas on my social media accounts!