“The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” – Proverbs 18:21
We as followers of Christ have the responsibility to speak life into people, not death and destruction.
Statistically, it takes seventeen positive words to counteract one negative word spoken over someone. Deconstruction is fast, reconstruction, however, is not.
It is a long process to mentally overcome any sort of negativity spoken over them or to them. We have to be able to recognize that, and have the patience to help people through the step by step process of rebuilding their own confidence.
When negative, words can be a very harsh and disheartening thing. We know how much it hurts when someone puts us down, yells at us, or belittles us. We know the pain is excruciating, so we can only imagine how wonderful it would be to hear the opposite! Do you want the words that come out of your mouth to be disheartening and destructive or uplifting? Our words can be life-giving or life-taking.
As representatives of the gospel, here are three simple steps to allow us to be life-givers, rather than life-takers.
- Think before you speak
Think about what you are going to say and how you are going to say it. A millisecond pause in the middle of a conversation is much less awkward than losing someone’s trust over a disheartening word, whether we truly meant it or not. Take the time to gather your thoughts before opening your mouth.
- Put yourself in their shoes.
The best way to do this is to truly listen to the other person involved in the conversation. Watch their body language, look into their eyes (not in a creepy way), and listen to the fluctuation in their voice. Do all of these characteristics of the person match up? Watch for mixed signals! For instance, is the person standing with their arms crossed, saying they are good but giving no detail as to what good means, and also telling you they just lost a loved one? These signs do not match up, this person needs compassion and love, whether they appear to receive it or not. Whatever a person is lacking is what we should offer to them! Are they in a state of depression? We should offer them joy, in hopes they feel it and inherit it themselves. If they lack faith, we can encourage them through our faith and let it be an example to them. With using wisdom and discernment of course, no joyful person needs their joy stripped away.
- Speak to their current situation
Referring back to point two’s analogy, it would not make sense to tell that person, “everyone has to go at some point”. That person needs to express what they are feeling. We need to attentively listen to them. Next, we need to speak to their current situation and state. We are in their life to help them rebuild whatever has been destroyed. We do this simply through our loving words of encouragement and reminders of the power of God in their lives. After that, the rest is up to God. We are to speak encouragement and life to a situation where they may feel dead. Once that is done, we encourage them into the next step in their life.
Remember, speaking life and having someone believe in the life you are speaking over them, can be a very long process from one way of thinking to the next.
To encourage us while encouraging others, remember not to grow weary, it is all for the glory of the Lord!
“So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.” –Galatians 6:9
People will be encouraged by our perseverance to show love and speak life!