In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless, and void and darkness covered the earth and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters. Then God said, “Let there be light and there was light.” God saw that the light was good; he separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day and the darkness he called Night and there was evening and there was morning: Day 1.
What a powerful God we have! He is the ultimate Creator and everything we know was spoke into being by him. It is God’s spoken Word that resulted in his new creation. God SAID, “Let there be light, and it was so”; God SAID, “Let there be heavens between the waters, and it was so”; God SAID, “Let the waters below the heavens be gathered into one place and let the dry ground appear and it was so.” And so, it was for each day. When God spoke, what he said came into being. Each day he ended the creation by saying, it was “good.” There is power in his spoken Word. And there is also power in our spoken word!
If only we all spoke with this same spirit and good intention as God, a great deal of hurt and pain could be alleviated. While our words do not have the power to create in the same way God did, our words do have the power to either build someone up or tear them down. Of all the creatures on this planet, only humans have the ability to communicate through the spoken word and it is a unique and powerful gift from God that we should all use for good!
I grew up with parents and schoolteachers telling us not to be upset if someone said something mean or hurtful. The saying was “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me.” While this was well intentioned, it simply isn’t true. In most cases the pain and hurt caused by ugly words can stay with us much longer than a broken bone. Our words are so important that the Bible tells us in Matthew 12:36-37 “that for every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”
We were created in God’s image, so why do we allow our words to cause harm instead of imparting love, inspiration and hope to others. Words are powerful tools; therefore, we need to teach our children to measure their words and understand that what they say could significantly impact someone’s life - even their own - either positively or negatively.
So, what are a few things we can do to help our children train their tongues so that their words are chosen wisely?
Children need to be taught that one the of the most important skills is to listen before they respond – especially when faced with a difficult conversation or situation. As Proverbs teaches us – being a good listener can prevent us from responding in haste and with the wrong emotion. Teach the children to focus on what is really being said and try to understand the actual emotion behind it - really hear what the other person is saying or not saying. In responding, remind them to keep their words respectful.
While telling them to ignore a bully or turn the other cheek is the best advice – this is not an easy lesson for them to learn or understand but remind them that if they respond in anger and hostility, then the bully wins.
Kids today are bombarded by a society and a world that continues to move farther and farther away from God’s loving plan for humanity. It seems as if people enjoy being offensive and garner more attention for that than by speaking kindly and doing what is right. On the other hand, what a wonderful response you receive when you compliment a friend or take a moment to share a kind word to an older person. Therefore, we must teach them that they can either choose to help or they will be part of the problem.
When the children are at home or in church, we have the best opportunity to have a godly influence on them and the words they speak. Are we setting the right example? How do you respond when something goes wrong, or someone disagrees with you? Do you choose the right words and deliver them in a Godly manner? Children will always learn what they live and will mimic your words – choose them wisely!
Remind them that the power of our spoken word is one of the strongest weapons we have; speaking words of encouragement, complimenting another or expressing kindness and love can be contagious. The power of our spoken word is extraordinary. Are we using our words as God intended?