Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The Sweetest Medicine


"Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones."
Proverbs 16:24

Words are a precious tool for us as people. We have a great arsenal of words, and various ways to speak them to one another. We speak them, type them, pray them...they are a foundation of all that we do.

Due to the simplicity of expressing thoughts through words, we often fail to remember the power of words. "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me." That is what we would say on the playground when a kid called us a name or made fun of us. Yet it is a statement that is simply untrue. The fact is, the power of cruel words is like that of a sharpened blade- cuts deep in less than a second, yet can take a great deal of time and effort to heal. They can cause a person to build a cold, icy wall around their heart in a desperate effort to avoid being hurt by such words again. Yet, on the other side, the power of kind words is life-giving. They heal wounds, break down walls, and are a source of hope. Kind words fill you with a sense of sweet warmth, like a lovely mug of hot chocolate after walking in from a winter snow. Kind words melt away the icy walls we have built around our hearts.

We live in a fast-paced society where we are always so quick to speak, our voices enabled through both tongue and keyboard. Yet as we quickly speak our minds, what is it we are speaking to others? Our words do not only impact others, but our own selves. When we choose to use our words to tear others down and be cruel, it hurts others and corrupts us. When we choose to use our words to love others, to bless them and to remind them of their value, it lifts others' up and makes us more loving and Christ-like. How we speak to and about others in our daily life is a testament of who we are. Our words are a reflection of our heart, and the words we speak have a continuous impact on the condition of our heart.

I love to give words of encouragement. The reason why is this: because it is a simple way to love others every day. Whether it's saying "I love you" to a friend, or telling a stranger she looks beautiful...it seems like the simplest thing, and it truly is. At times, it can feel so simple that it even feels unimportant. Yet a few seconds of personal intentionality can make a world of impact to someone who needs it. You never know who needs to be reminded that they are valued or loved that day. What can feel insignificant in those few seconds may be monumental to someone else, and we might not even know it. We may not always be aware of the impact of a kind word to someone, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't speak such words. Choosing to speak life into others regularly has healed some of the most bitter places in my heart. There was a time when my words came from a place of animosity. My words were weapons used to protect my heavily guarded heart. As I wounded others and pushed them away with my words, I became colder. Now, years later, as I speak in kindness to others from a place of love, my words have become sweet medicine. I have become more warm and loving, and my heart has softened. When kind words are spoken to me, they are like medicine to the hurting places of my heart. When someone says, "I love you," on a day when I feel insignificant, it means the world because it is a sweet reminder that how I feel on a bad day isn't the truth...it lifts me up and reminds me of my value in this world. Just a few simple words can have an incredible impact.

If our hearts belong to Christ, our words should be sweet and healing, genuine and life-giving. Our words should reflect the goodness and love of our great God.