Editor’s note: Let’s make 2023 the year of doing family devotions together. It doesn’t have to be every day, or a particular time of day. Whatever works for your family is wonderful. Just enjoy time together talking about the Word of God and growing together in faith. Start here with this excerpt from Building a Family of Faith!
The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit. — Proverbs 18:21
Let’s Think About It…
Do you take time to really think about the words you say? Are there times when you say things you don’t mean about yourself, your family, or your friends? Have you ever been in an argument and said something you wished you could take back? What about when mean words are directed at you? Do they hurt your feel- ings? And what about good words? How do you feel when someone says something nice to you or when you say some- thing nice to someone else?
Let’s Get Into It…
Before I got married, I was given so much advice. Some of the advice was really good, and some of it I’m still trying to figure out. However, there was one piece of advice that has been a blessing to me, my wife, and my kids: make sure you wash your wife with words. In other words, shower her with positive words—speaking well of her, telling her how beautiful and talented and smart she is, reminding her what a great wife she is and what an amazing mom she is.
Our words have power. You can speak words to people and they may not believe them right away, but over time, if they hear the words enough, it can impact how they see themselves and change who they are. For instance, my wife is gorgeous. She is talented and gifted in teaching the Bible, and she is also a great wife and mother. She’s always been beautiful and talented, but she would tell you she feels more beautiful now than she did in the past because of how I’ve washed her with my words. I don’t do it in an insincere manner. I just make sure I am telling her consistently how wonderful she is.
Parents, if you tell your kids they are strong, obedient, intelligent, and all-around good kids, you will help shape who they are. And if you say three simple words, it will have a profound impact on their self-confidence, stability, and courage, and it will give them the ability to show love to others in the future. These three words are, “I love you.”
Some kids go through life never once hearing their parents say “I love you.” I never knew that was true until one day I was meeting with a high school guy in my youth group. As he was leaving, I told him, “I’m proud of you. I love you, bro.” It stopped him in his tracks, and he turned around and teared up, saying, “No one has ever said they love me.” I gave him his fist bump and said, “It’s all love here, bro.” We parted, and I was stunned by his words. I didn’t realize that was a real thing. We can change that narrative.
The tongue holds the power of life and death. And just as speaking well about another person encourages them, the opposite is also true. Speaking badly about your parents, spouse, friends, kids, brothers and sisters, friends, coworkers, or even yourself can be very damaging. If you gossip, lie, speak unkindly about some- one, call others bad names, or use your words as weapons, you are actually speaking death over others or yourself. That’s why it’s so important to think before you speak. If you don’t, you may end up saying the wrong thing at the wrong time to the wrong person, who will be hurt because of your wrong words.
Words hold weight, which is why we need to watch what we say. Our words should revitalize others and build them up. We all know how it feels when people say mean things about us. Don’t be the person who hurts other people’s feelings. You have a choice to either build others up or tear them down with your words. In order to make the right choice, we need the power of the Holy Spirit.
God wants us to be careful with our words and to carefully think about what we are saying and how it will affect someone else before we open our mouths to speak.
Let’s Talk About It…
Do you like to speak well of others, or do you find yourself talking negatively about other people? How do our words reflect what is in our hearts? How can we do better at being a family that speaks well of one another and of others.
Our words have so much power! Help us use them to build others up rather than tear others down. Please help us to speak well of others and to be a family that encourages others and speaks words of positivity. Amen.
- Make a list of declarations that your family will speak over each other daily.
Some ideas: You are smart. You are kind. You are talented. You are beautiful. You are honest. You are a good friend. You are a hard worker. Before bed or at breakfast or any time you are all together, speak these words over one another. You can even take it outside your family and start speaking these declarations to kids at school, coworkers, neighbors, friends, and anyone else you spend time with.
- As a family, memorize this verse that gives encouragement to recognize the power of words:
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. — Ephesians 4:29
Excerpted with permission from Building a Family of Faith by Andy Dooley, copyright Andy L. Dooley.
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How closely do you pay attention to what comes out of your mouth? How do you feel when you say something unkind versus when you say something that cheers someone up or makes them feel hopeful and happy? Come share with us! ~ Devotionals Daily