20,000 Words a Day:
How Do You Use Them?
Stop and think: how have you used your tongue today?
Aside from tasting food, and swallowing, what kind of words have you spoken? Words have the power to build someone up, and they can also tear that person down. We need to be very careful to use our words the right way.
The apostle Paul knew the importance of right speech and included it as a qualification for those who were ministers and deacons. He didn’t stop there, but encouraged young pastor Timothy to include it as a requirement for the wives as well.
The character qualities seen in these leaders were important. The pastors, deacons, and their wives were a reflection of God’s church. And one of the priorities for men and women was to use their words appropriately.
Prospective deacons were to be, “grave, not doubletongued…” (1 Timothy 3:8, KJV). These men were to be honorable and worthy of respect (grave). Their speech wasn’t to be insincere or hypocritical (doubletongued). In today’s culture it would mean having a good reputation – keeping your word, being honest, and living out the truth you claim to believe.
The women were to have similar characteristics:
Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things.1 Timothy 3:11
These ladies were also to be worthy of respect, to exercise self-control, and avoid malicious, or deliberately harmful gossip (slander).
You’re a leader too
You may be feeling a bit relieved right now if you’re not in this type of leadership role. But, the truth is, we are all leaders in one capacity or another. Maybe you’re a supervisor at your workplace or an AWANA worker at your church. You may home school your kids or be on the board of a non-profit. Or you could find yourself leading indirectly as you give godly advice to a struggling friend over coffee.
Whatever your situation, others look to you for direction. What will you choose to say to them?
It’s no secret that we women talk more than men. Research has shown that we speak on average, 13,000 more words/day than men (read entire article here). That’s a lot. And those words can get us into trouble if we’re not careful.
The power of the tongue
King Solomon gives us something to think about:
Death and life are in the power of the tongue… Proverbs 18:21a
Our words have the ability to wound and destroy, or to encourage and cause growth.
James, the Lord’s brother, shares more sobering facts about the tongue:
But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be.James 3:8-10
We praise God in song during the Sunday morning worship service, but are quick to cut down our neighbor who is made in the image of God. Do you see the contradiction?
An accurate reflection
In Timothy’s day, Paul pointed out the importance of leaders using their words in a way that would be an accurate reflection of the gospel – edifying the hearer, speaking the truth in love, restoring the wayward. While we may not be pastor’s or deacon’s wives, our words are just as important to those in our sphere of influence.
Will we steer clear of words that are rooted in self-love (those that make us the focus and diminish others), instead favoring those that display agape love (those that build others up)? Our words DO make a difference.
How does your speech need to change? What step will you take to make your words those that please the Lord?
Can I pray for you?
Heavenly Father, thank You for this timely reminder about how we use our words. Forgive us for not being mindful of how our words affect others. Help us think before we speak and to use words that will build others up and point them to You. We want to be accurate representatives of You and Your church. In Jesus' name, Amen.Leave a comment on my wall if this post helped you
Share this post with your friends