The Words Series: Part 1, Healing Words

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I love words. 

No really, it’s more than just being a writer and a voracious reader.  If you’ve ever taken Gary Chapman’s The 5 Love Languages quiz, then you know there’s an entire love language called Words of Affirmation.  That’s mine.  In spades.

Recently, because of some life circumstances that required me to pray very specifically over words, I had the opportunity to study what God says about words.  As I read all these references to words in the Bible (there’s over 400!), I saw some themes emerging.  Themes about what to say, how to say it, when not to speak, how to react with words, what His words look like, and so much more.

I could easily have written a ten part series on God’s take on words.  However, since you might not be QUITE as obsessed with this little study as I am, I’ll limit this series on words to this week.  I know I’ve only barely skimmed the depths of what God would really like to teach me.

Part 1 is about using your words to heal, and not to wound.  I’ve read Proverbs 16 many times, and while I love the entire chapter (especially that whole part about gray hair being a crown…), it has profound wisdom to offer on what words to use and how to use them.

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Gracious words are a honeycomb,
    sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.

I love this visual of a honeycomb.  All those beautiful hexagons working fitted together by focused bees collaborating to create a mound of honey.  What if every time I went to utter a sentence, I filtered it through a honeycomb?  {===>Click To Tweet} What if I made sure that the words that came out of my mouth everyday were sweet as honey rather than bitter or harsh?

This is not the only reference in the Bible to gracious, healing words.  There are beautiful images in Deuteronomy 32, Let my teaching fall like rain and my words descend like dew, like showers on new grass, like abundant rain on tender plants Moses went on to say, in verse 47, “They are not just idle words for you—they are your life. By them you will live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to possess…”

God provides a lot of guidance about words.  He tells us when not to use them (more to come), how He uses them, and how those bent on destruction can use them for their purposes, but when He talks about GOOD words, and our call to use good words, there’s often beautiful healing imagery.  Imagine if the words we uttered to our friends and our spouse and our kids and our co-workers were like rain showers on new grass.  {===>Click To Tweet}  In other words, the exact words they needed to have spoken in their lives.  Proverbs 18 tells us that the tongue has the power of life and death.  Life and death!  Isn’t that extraordinary?  How can we make sure that what we say speaks life and healing?

Your words have supported those who stumbled; you have strengthened faltering knees. Job 4:4

And Mordecai sent letters to all the Jews…of goodwill and assurance. Esther 9:30

How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! Psalm 119: 103

Gracious words are pure in his sightProverbs 15:26

Therefore encourage one another with these words. I Thess.4:18

When we head back to Proverbs 16, the honeycomb scripture that propelled me into this study of words, the entire chapter has so much to tell us about using words.  I should have know such wisdom would come from a chapter in the Bible that starts with this as its introduction: To humans belong the plans of the heart, but from the Lord comes the proper answer of the tongue. It goes on to say, “The hearts of the wise make their mouths prudent..,” and “Gracious words promote instruction…”

How do we make our words gracious?  How do we find words to heal?  From the Lord.  It’s right there as clear as can be.  All of the instruction that follows in the chapter about how to speak and what to say stems from the introductory guidance:  from the Lord comes the proper answer of the tongue.

However, reality shows us that our words, and other’s words, are often not gracious.  We sometimes use words when our mouths should remain closed.  Words from the mouth of the wise are gracious… (Eccles. 10:12) BUT it goes on to say…

That’s what we’ll cover tomorrow – the flip side.

Photo Credit: Nutty Maths

Trackbacks

  1. […] kicked off The Words Series with instruction about how to speak gracious words that heal instead of wound.  Sometimes, there […]

  2. […] what to do when you hear “fightin’ words.”  We talked about gracious words in Part 1 and about silencing ourselves when fewer words are called for in Part 2, but today we explore what […]

  3. […] a lot to say about words.  All the right and wrong ways to use them.  But there is nothing more important to say about […]

  4. […] thanks for sticking with me.  This week we’ve talked about how to speak with gracious words that are healing.  If we can’t, then less is more.  If we’re attacked by others’ words, then […]

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