One of the hidden blessings of moving my family overseas this past year is the amazing people we have met. Last month I introduced you to Dave Chater; today we are blessed with a post from Carmel Bruce. Carmel has been a God-send to our family, giving friendship to each of us. She is full of love, life and wisdom. I know you will enjoy her post today.
The Power of Words
I was recently reminded about the power that words have – on what we choose to believe about ourselves and how we relate to others. Our past experiences, and words spoken over us, can affect the way we think about ourselves. It is from here that we form beliefs about others, and about the world at large. However, we do have a choice in it.
Encouragement Leads to Life; Criticism Steals It
When I was in high school, I always found the teachers that encouraged me the most, tended to be the subjects I flourished in – regardless if it was a subject that I was naturally gifted in or not. Even my weakest subjects would improve a bit after some positive praise. On the other hand, I had a classmate that continuously criticized my responses in class and belittled me, this reduced my enthusiasm to participate in a subject I actually previously enjoyed. Therefore, it was clear I had let this students’ words affect me. I started to second guess myself every time I entered into a conversation that involved this subject. Even worse, many times I said nothing. It was not until I started practice ignoring the students’ comments and believing the truth that I had something of worth to say that I could enjoy the subject again.
I had a choice in it. Would I believe the lie that I have no voice OR the truth that my opinion counts; the lie that I talk too much OR the truth that what I have to say matters. The words we speak over ourselves and others do matter.
The Australian Way
Last week I was in a situation where it was cultural normally to pull each other apart as a means of endearment. I’m from this culture, it comes naturally for me to do this, and it even seems entertaining at times. However, as I opened my mouth to make a cruel comment about a haircut someone had just got, I released that it was going to be hard for this person to receive encouragement from me after pulling them apart.
James 3:4 says that our tongue is like a small rudder that can move a whole ships direction. Therefore, I want to make the choice each time to speak life into others’ lives so that my words positively affect their direction in life.
What We Say to Ourselves
We have the power to choose our direction in life, by means of what we choose to speak over ourselves. While doing life with others people, we also have an opportunity to build into their world. Through our words we can cut OR bring healing (Proverbs 12:18); build ourselves and others up OR tear ourselves and others down (Ephesians 4:29); bring knowledge to a situation OR just look like a fool. (Proverbs 15:2). I know what I want to be choosing – LIFE – in the words that I speak about myself and others!
Kevin Shorter is the founder of this prayer-coach site and have served for several years in ministry and churches teaching on a variety of Biblical topics. Go to the contact page to request him to speak at your conferences and seminars.