“With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.” James 3:9-10 (NIV)
My friend Catherine and I set out for a stroll through the neighborhood, just before the fireflies emerged to start their party. We chatted about raising boys, husbands and decorating dilemmas. When we arrived back at her house, she invited me in to look at some fabric swatches for a new sofa. Before I knew it, a few minutes had turned into a few hours.
“Oh, my!” I exclaimed. “It’s 10 o’clock. I’ve been gone for over two hours! I bet Steve’s worried sick. He doesn’t even know where I am. I’d better give him a call before I start back home.”
When I tried to call my husband, the answering machine picked up … which made me just a little mad.
“Steve, I was calling to let you know I’m at Catherine’s. I thought you’d be worried, but apparently you don’t even care because you won’t even pick up the phone!” Click.
I said my goodbyes to Catherine and left feeling dejected. “I’m wandering around in the dark all alone, and he doesn’t even care,” I mumbled to no one in particular. “I could be lying in a ditch injured, or dead for that matter! I don’t think he even loves me.”
As my eyes adjusted to the darkness, I noticed Steve coming toward me on his bicycle.
“Where have you been?” Steve desperately asked. “I’ve been riding all over the neighborhood looking for you! Do you know what time it is?”
When we arrived home, I quickly erased the angry voicemail. Whew, I thought. That was close.
A few days later, Steve called me from work. “Sharon, have you listened to the voicemail lately? There’s something you need to hear.”
So, I used my cell phone to call my home number.
The message went something like this: (The voice of sweet southernness …) “Hello, you’ve reached the Jaynes’ residence. We’re unable to answer the phone right now … (enter the voice of Cruella de Vil). “I was calling to let you know I’m at Catherine’s. I thought you’d be worried, but apparently you don’t even care because you won’t even pick up the phone!” (Return of sweet southernness …) “At the sound of the beep, leave a message, and we’ll get back with you as soon as possible.”
“Oh, my goodness!” I screamed. “How did this happen?! How many people have heard this over the past three days?”
I called the phone company, and they explained that most likely during the thunderstorm we had a few days earlier, a lightning strike must have merged and scrambled the message.
I was mortified.
The Bible says, “With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be” (James 3:9-10). That all went down in one single voicemail.
As women, I am amazed how quickly we can flit back and forth between blessing and belittling, praising and putting down, cheering and critiquing — all in a matter of seconds. God has given us incredible power in our sphere of influence, and it begins with the words we speak.
In Genesis 1, we read that God created everything we see with but a word. He said, “Let there be …” and then there was (Genesis 1:3). Then on the sixth day, when He created man and woman in His own image, He did something amazing, astonishing really — He gave us the gift of words.
Few forces have greater impact than the utterances that pass our lips. Our words can embolden a child to accomplish great feats, encourage a husband to conquer the world, reignite the dying embers of a friend’s broken dreams, cheer on a fellow believer to run the race of life and draw a lost soul to Christ. Words start wars and bring peace — globally and right in our own homes.
So, the question for us is: How will we use the incredible gift of words God has given us today?
Lord, please help me control my tongue today. Help me speak words of life to those around me. I want to be an encourager and not a discourager, a builder of dreams rather than a destroyer of destinies. I pray the Holy Spirit will help me be known as a woman who speaks life into those around her. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY
Psalm 141:3, “Set a guard over my mouth, LORD; keep watch over the door of my lips.” (NIV)
Did you know your words are shaping other people’s lives? Every day, you can speak life into others’ souls or suck the life right out of them. To become a woman who uses her words wisely, pick up a copy of Sharon Jaynes’ updated re-release of The Power of a Woman’s Words! When you order by today, April 21, you can also receive a free e-book download of Enough: Silencing the Lies that Steal Your Confidence.
Stop by Sharon’s website to download FREE lists of powerful words to say and not say to husbands, children and friends.
REFLECT AND RESPOND
What are some positive words you’d like for someone to say to you?
Now, consider saying them to someone else today. Share with us who you’ll say kind words to today in the comments section!
© 2020 by Sharon Jaynes. All rights reserved.