3 Ways to Speak Life Today
By Sophie Hudson
"Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil. Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you." -Ephesians 4:25-32
I hope you don’t find this hard to believe, but since I work with teenage girls every day, I sometimes have to deal with a little bit of drama.
Shocking, I know.
Sometimes the drama is because of a misunderstanding. Sometimes it’s because of a social media post (if I could, I would insert all the red-faced emojis right here). Sometimes it’s because of a boy.
More often than not, the drama is directly tied to words. And believe me, there are all sorts of word-related offenders: a hastily sent email, a group text gone wrong, a sarcastic remark in the hallway, a rumor that’s passed along thoughtlessly—we could go on and on.
If you’ve ever been on the receiving end of one of those things, you know how much it can hurt. But sometimes, we’re the ones who do the hurting, and I understand why it happens. We’re always looking for ways to feel connected to other people—to feel accepted and “safe”—so when the enemy dangles bait that gives us a chance to be a mocker as opposed to mocked, to be the scorner instead of scorned, we can feel tempted to lunge at that seemingly tasty morsel. So we start a rumor, share some gossip, roast the new girl—and we act like it’s all in good fun.
After all, the bait looks delicious, right?
But don’t be fooled, sweet girls: that bait is a trap. And that trap will hook you and hold you for longer than you ever intended to stay there.
That’s why it’s critical to use our words well. Proverbs 18:21 tells us that, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits” (ESV). So every time we speak, we are choosing life or death.
Let me repeat that.
Every time we speak, we are choosing life or death.
We can build up, encourage, love, and support. Or we can tear down, wound, hate, and reject.
So, I just want to offer three quick suggestions that will hopefully remind us of how important it is to speak life today:
1. Every single person is made in the image of God. Every. Single. One. It’s good to remember that before we share the latest rumor or pass along “news” that’s really none of our business. The person you’re tempted to talk about is precious in God’s sight. Choose your words carefully.
2. Empathy changes how we respond. Instead of firing off a sarcastic remark, take ten seconds to really think about how the other person feels—and how you feel when people are unkind to you. Think about the possibility that what you and the other person really need is a conversation, not an argument.
3. It’s so much more rewarding to create a culture of honor and esteem than it is to settle for a culture of mean. And if you’re tempted to think the culture can’t be any different—that you can’t make a difference—then stand up for someone who’s having a tough time. You’ll see what an impact even one person can have.
Give grace. Speak life. Your words are more powerful than you know.
Excerpted from All in All Journaling Devotional: Loving God Wherever You Are by Sophie Hudson. ©2017 Used with permission, B&H Publishing Group.
Sophie Hudson loves to laugh more than just about anything. Through her books and her popular blog, BooMama.net, she offers encouragement and hope in the everyday, joy-filled moments of life. A devoted fan of pajama pants, Sophie loves cheering like crazy at college football games and watching entire seasons of TV shows in record time. She lives with her husband and son in Birmingham, Alabama.