“If you don’t have anything good to say about someone, don’t say it.” I can remember my mother telling us this countless times. That and “You can win more flies with honey than you can with vinegar.” As a child it took me a while to figure that one out. After all, who wants a bunch of flies swarming around you. It all boiled down to — be nice — be kind — be uplifting. Words are powerful. Words can make or break someone’s day. Words can impact someone’s life. Proverbs 12:25 says “An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up.” We often do not realize the impact our words have on people. After all, we were just kidding! When we insulted that person, we didn’t really mean it. But it’s not very much fun when you’re the person that negative comment was about, and even though you know that person was joking, you wonder if maybe they might have really meant that comment, at least in part.
Several years ago I was a youth group leader. We had a good group of kids, always praying for each other and hungry for the word of God. At one youth group retreat I was teaching about positive words and how we don’t realize how much we can hurt someone with our words even though we’re only kidding. One of the young boys broke down and started crying. He was able to share with the group how horrible it made him feel when they would constantly refer to him as Eddie Munster–he was short and dark haired like the character on TV. The other kids were shocked because they had no idea that their joking with him had caused him such hurt. They all apologized to him and I believe a healing took place in his heart that night.
Words are so important that the Bible says “men will have to give an account for every careless word they have spoken. By your words you will be acquitted and by your words you will be condemned.” Matthew 12:36-37
There’s an old song my mom used to sing around the house. (My mother was always singing; she loved music.) There was one song she sang quite often and the words stuck in my mind. Some of the words to the song are “you have to accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative, latch on to the affirmative.” We need to start speaking positive to each other. After all, think about it. Do you like it better when someone says something positive about you or negative about you? I’ll leave you with this thought–Proverbs 12:24 “Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” Bless someone today with pleasant words.