When I was in college, I used to listen to a song by Wes King entitled “Sticks and Stones.” The chorus went:
Sticks and stones in condescending tones/Bruise my spirit and break my bones/Read these tombstones, cause of death unknown/Words that kill are sticks and stones
Why is it that I can still remember negative comments made about or to me from years ago but struggle to remember anything positive said about or to me yesterday?
I would say that I’m not alone. You probably nodded your head when you read my question.
Words have an impact on the people who hear them—either positive or negative.
The Bible says,
Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.Proverbs 18:21 (CSB)
We show the presence or absence of love towards people in what we say. We either speak in a way that tears them down or builds them up.
What we say can encourage people to move closer or further away from God.
We must use grace-filled speech when we talk with folks. They need to experience the love of Christ in our conversations with them.
People encounter hurt speech daily in personal conversations and on social media. When they hear encouraging words salted by the love and grace of the gospel, it has an impact.
Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you should answer each person.Colossians 4:6 (CSB)
So, how are you using your words?
When you write that post on social media, does it build up or tear down? When you are having a conversation with that coworker, are you seasoning it with the salt of the gospel? As you discuss that political matter with a family member, do they hear the love of Christ in what you say? When you are disciplining your child, what do they hear?
Our words are a witness of the love we have for God and our neighbors. Do your words reflect the love of Christ? Do you love like Jesus in how you talk with the people you encounter daily?
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Tim is the Director of the Global Center for Youth Ministry and Associate Professor for Youth Ministry & Missions at Anderson University. He is lead pastor/planter of Mosaic Church of Anderson. Tim is also the author of Engaging Generation Z (Kregel Academic), No Better Gospel (Seeds Publishing Group), and the author and editor of Navigating Student Ministry (B&H Academic). His comments do not reflect the views of his employers and are his own personal views on various subjects.