I first heard the expression "words of life" from a lovely Christian couple I know with six children. Not only did they make it their goal to speak kindly and encouraging of everyone in their lives, but they also encouraged their children to do so. It had an amazing impact on all their relationships and the atmosphere in their home.
We can probably all remember hurtful words that have been spoken to us in the past. That is because unkind, hurtful, critical or cruel words stick much longer than any other comments. Forget that silly nursery rhyme about sticks and stones. The truth is words can and do hurt, especially when said by people who mean something to us.
So, what if we decided to stop bad-mouthing others? What if we avoided criticism, gossip and hurtful comments whether behind someone's back or to their face? What if the only words that came out of our mouth were "words of life" – words that encourage others, build them up and speak to their potential?
In 1 Thessalonians 5:11 we are reminded to "encourage one another, and build each other up."
It's hard. I'm not going to pretend it's easy, but it can have a really positive impact on your relationships. Why not try it?
Another way of approaching it, is to THINK before you speak. Is what you are about to say:
- T - true?
- H - helpful?
- I - inspiring?
- N - necessary?
- K - kind?
We are definitely still in the learning phase, but now we have our six-year-old to remind us when we fall short. "Words of Life, Mummy and Daddy", he tells us. And who can argue with that?
Sarah Abell is the founder of nakedhedehogs.com and is passionate about helping people to love, live and lead authentically. If you want to find out how authentic your relationships are – you can take a free test on her website.