Sticks and stones may break my bones,

but your words have the power to choke the life out of me.


Preparing to share with a group of women who are in need of guidance and encouragement to be better moms because they didn't grow up in an environment that fostered the love of Jesus. They live in difficult circumstances, not having life's advantages that so many of us take for granted...then God speaks to my heart. 
It isn't just His word for the women that I will be sharing with, it is His words to me.
Listening attentively to the sermon being taught on James 3 with my children on either side of me, the pastor asked "Parents, how are you doing? Do your words encourage your children?" Then the pain...literally. I get little elbows from both sides into my ribs, I turn to see little accusing eyebrows raised. 
WHAT? My children think that my words are harsh and I don't encourage them?! 
Later, finagling my way, I explain to my children that correction is not the same as being hurtful with words. However, as the day goes on His spirit within me raised little red flags each time I spoke harshly, my words were accusing, my tone unkind. One red flag should have been enough, but there were several. Then came the defeated voice of my child,
“Can I not do anything right today?”
Ouch. Sticks and stones may break my bones but your words make me feel like a failure.

I realized that all day I had noticed those little things that irritated me (and said so). I saw what was undone or not done correctly (and was sure to point it out). I missed the mark – big time. I failed to say out loud all of the good stuff, to point out what was pleasing and right, missed getting to laugh off a mistake and say the words “you’ll get it, just keep trying.” I hadn’t stopped to say, “I love you” out of the blue for no reason at all, except that we all need to hear it.
Research on the power of words tells us that for every one negative word spoken, there needs to be two – five positive words to negate the one negative. Our brains remember the negative, and dare I say our hearts begin to believe it.


That’s why God’s Word has so much to say about the tongue. Here are just a few verses…
“Death and life are in the power of the tongue…”Proverbs 18:21

“When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent. The tongue of the righteous is choice silver; the heart of the wicked is of little worth. The lips of the righteous feed many, but fools die for lack of sense.”
Proverbs 10:19-21(ESV)

James 3, read the whole chapter!

Yep, God is using much in the ways of my mess ups to teach me about His great love for me and to change my heart to be more like Him each day.

My prayer today: Help me, Father, to speak with gracious words, those like honeycomb that are sweetness to the soul and health to the body. If at any point Lord, my words are not, PLEASE put your hand over my mouth (and of course keep changing my heart)! Amen.

Now, because I am reminded that I don’t have it all together, I am ready to share with these moms and encourage them to measure their words by God’s Word too.


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