“Gracious words are like honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.” Proverbs 16:24
I’ve been convicted lately about the words coming out of my mouth. For a lot of my life, I was the “positive happy girl,” the one who could turn every situation back to the goodness of God. Yet as I’ve grown older, I think I’ve let so much of the negativity of the world around me engage my mind. It’s seemed better, cooler, more status quo to see the bad in every situation, to be “honest” and “speak my truth” about how I see situations, how I see others.
But recently, I’ve been convicted, with that gentle nudge of God’s spirit, to hold back, hold my tongue, or ask God his heart about a situation before I speak about it. I’ve been asking myself what are these negative words doing to my heart and the hearts of those around me? And it’s funny that the more time I spend in his word and prayer, the more I’ve seen the importance of really thinking deeply about what I say.
Proverbs 18:21 says “The power of life and death is in the tongue,” and I want to be a person whose words are marked by life. I want to be someone who points back to hope and Christ in every situation, not as a candy-coated “glass half full” mantra, but as an overflow of the Truth nestled deep within my heart.
I want my friends to trust and know that their character and reputation is safe in my mouth, that my words will be used to speak good things about them, and not to tear them down or gossip behind their back.
I want my family to know my words as encouragement, not criticism. I want what I say to communicate “I love you just as you are today” rather than “Look at all the ways you aren’t measuring up yet.”
And I want the words I speak about myself to be gracious and life-giving too. I want to speak over myself my true identity: that I am a child of God, fearfully and wonderfully made, loved and chosen just as I am.
We have a choice basically every second of every day: will we let our words be gracious and offer life and healing to the hearts of those around us, or will we let our words be ungracious, used to tear others down and spread negativity?
If this is something you struggle with too, one prayer I’ve prayed for a long while that has really helped is directly from Psalm 19:14. It says, “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.” And as I’ve prayed this prayer over and over again, something has softened in my heart. I don’t get it right all the time, but God is turning my heart back to him, and making my words more like honey, sweet and healing to both myself and those around me.