When I decided to write a post on the Power of Words, I thought I would be commenting on how writers need to be concise. I thought I would be telling people why there is a restricted need for adjectives and adverbs with such a robust language as our own. God had different plans when last night I understood Proverbs 12:18 very well, when words were used as a sword to thrust straight through my heart on, quite honestly, a very merry day. There weren’t a lot of words, and I could even be wrong as to who they were meant for, but it made me think deeply about how words are used.
Every day I see people use words to be hurtful. I am on the receiving end of so many of them. If there was a mistake, there are threats. It doesn’t matter who is in the wrong, there will be some note from two years ago levied to show that you lied, despite an email trail from the last month showing you were right. When an order is shipping late, there are curse words and accusations. The sword jabs furiously and regularly.
Healing is rare. When you work hard to get an item to where it belongs, you might get a thank you. Not often, but you will. Sometimes, when you have a string of helping, they will remember in the future. Sometimes, it only takes one slip up, even if it’s not your fault, and the sword is thrust once more, deep as ever. There are few people who heal with their words, and there are many quick to thrust, to cut deeply so that they are not cut themselves.
I do not believe we are to be empty flatterers. Ephesians says we are to build up as to the occasion. It’s amazing what a chastising word can do to motivate someone close to you. Followed up with words of praise, there’s nothing better in the world. Honesty is ultimately the guide, though honesty tempered. Jesus rebuked his disciples. They were not perfect, like the Son of God. And in each rebuke, they learned a new lesson and became closer to the Lord. So too should we be looking at when it is to rebuke and when it is to praise, though understanding we are not Christ, and we are in as much need of guiding words as anyone else in our life.
So find someone today and tell them how they’re doing a great job. Say something you like about a person if you haven’t complimented them. And if there is an issue, inform the person of it with a loving heart and gentle guidance. When the words strike true with that person, be quick to praise and they will beam. It seems perhaps like a cheap trick, but if it works and if it lifts up, why aren’t we to use it? Men still buy chocolate for their wives and girlfriends.