“For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.” Romans 15:4 NKJV
“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” Ephesians 4:29 NIV
I seem to be stuck on “words”; words that we choose to speak to others. Last week, “pleasant words” like a honeycomb that are sweetness to the soul. This week, words of hope and encouragement to others. Perhaps, because I am a writer, I recognize that words are important and powerful. Each week I pray that the words that I write are really God’s words, that these “words” are something that each reader needs to see, even if it is only one person.
Perhaps, I have even written these words for me… I sometimes tend to judge too quickly; in my mind the wrong words seem to flourish as if on their own. I spend time in God’s word as I strive to use my words for the benefit of others. I often say a quick word of prayer before I respond to someone. (So if I am slow in responding, know I am asking for the right words!)
I love to read Paul’s letters. They are full of practical and life-living advice. The verse from Romans tells us that all things that were written, the entire Bible is written for our learning. If we read with patience and the comfort of the Spirit, we will find our hope. And our greatest hope is the hope of heaven, eternal life, and a relationship with God the Father through the salvation of Jesus Christ, His Son. What a wonderful hope to share with others!
The verse from Ephesians is great advice for any person, at any time, in any situation. The words that we speak should build others up, should benefit those who listen to us. Do we make the cut? This doesn’t mean we should sugar coat anything. When Jesus spoke to people, he spoke truth, but He spoke it with love and acceptance of the person. One of my favorite stories is when He talked with the Samaritan woman at the well (John Chapter 4). Jesus did not shy away from speaking to a Samaritan or to a woman alone or from the truth of her life, but He spoke with her about living water and who He was. She gathered all the people she could to hear Him and “many believed”. She and her townspeople were “built up”with hope and encouragement and all who believed benefited!
This week let’s all try to speak compelling words of hope and encouragement to those we interact with. Let’s build up and not tear down, let’s encourage and not criticize, let’s use our words with the love of God behind them.
I thank God for each of you! And I thank you for joining me this week as we try to become more like Jesus in our use of words for hope and encouragement.