“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" Ephesians 4:29.
Our words have great POWER. But how does that apply? How much power exactly? Let's find out how and if we can really inspire others through our words...
Recently, I watched the movie My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend with some friends. It started out looking like every other sappy chick flick in the world - boy meets girl, love at first sight, yada, yada, yada...you get the picture. However, as the movie progressed, I was pleasantly surprised with how encouraging the girlfriend was towards her boyfriend. By just a few short words, she drove him to rekindle his previously crushed dreams of becoming a writer. She inspired him to make his dreams come true. In the end of the movie, he ends up writing a love novel and becoming a published author.
So, I know you’re probably thinking something along the lines of: Sure. She said some nice things in the movie, but like our words would actually make that big of a difference in real life!
Before I even began to write this article, God had been showing my heart how powerful our words can impact others - for better or for worse. What had especially been impacting me was the ability women in particular possess to crush or propel the male spirit with just a simple word. So why are our words SO important to a man’s heart and mind? Let’s take a look...
In the EXCELLENT book, For Young Women Only by Shaunti Feldhahn, Shaunti provides some insight as to what’s really going on behind the rough exteriors of teen guys. In fact, there was an entire chapter in the book dedicated to simply revealing how easily their spirits can be bruised. During her research, she discovered the great need men have for respect. In her interviews, 63% of guys said that they would rather feel alone and unloved rather than disrespected.
But when do guys feel disrespected?
Some young men said that they feel disrespected in the middle of a conflict with a girl. Other answers consisted of: being judged negatively, being deceived, gossip, jealousy, and a girl just plain being mean. Ouch. Notice how everything that can hurt a man lead back to our words?
As women longing to live for the Lord and love everyone around us, we have a responsibility - a CALL - to watch our words. This is DEFINITELY a struggle of mine. With a desire to constantly have the last word on nearly everything, I consistently show disrespect to my dad, my brother, and my guy friends.
So what can we do? How can we live differently to show men (and everyone around us) the respect they deserve?
Here’s a few steps to get started:
1. Pray. Ask God for strength and power to use our words for His glory and His glory alone. Ask Him to give us wisdom to distinguish teasing from disrespect. “Ephesians 6:18 - Pray at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.”
2. Get into the Word. It’s a constant battle, so we need constant preparation. Look up in a concordance what the Bible has to say about words or encouragement (see the verses below to get you started). “Psalm 119:105 - Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”
3. Be purposeful. Whatever you say, mean to say it. If you are going to be encouraging then ENCOURAGE! Question every statement before it leaves your mouth (this one takes practice!). Guard everything you say and “be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry...” James 1:19.
Any doubts about our responsibilities? Check out just a few verses on the subject: Ephesians 4:29, Proverbs 18:21, Matthew 15:18, Proverbs 12:18, Matthew 12:36, and counting!
Looks like our words were pretty important in Jesus’ eyes. Shouldn’t they be important to us too?