The power of words amazes me. In my family, I am a stickler for words and the proper pronunciation of them. I love broadening my vocabulary and using new found knowledge to communicate more precisely and effectively.
But beyond the pronunciation and the enlarged vocabulary it’s how our words are used. The spoken and written word is a powerful force. It can bring life or it can destroy. I think of its power in my parenting to either raise up my children or to tear them down.
James speaks of the tongue:
“but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.”
James 3:8-12 NIV
Our tongue, the one who forms the words we speak is notorious for being a fire. In our human self, we cannot tame this wretched fire that spreads. But the Holy Spirit that lives within the believer can. What flows out of our mouth is what is in the heart, and it is not what enters us that defiles us but what comes out.
How do you speak with your children? How do you speak with others in general? When you are frustrated do you allow an onslaught of insults be hurled at a loved one? Or do you criticize their every move? Do you remind them of everything they did wrong or are you quick to remind them what was done right? When your children are simply being children, are you dismissive? Do you discredit their feelings and struggle because they are young? Or are quick to listen and slow to speak weighing each word through the spirit in order to direct them to Christ?
What about your speech towards others? Do you cut people down or people groups? Are you mindful of the impact your words, your tone and your expressions have on your children or those around you?
We live in a world where words are thrown around without care. We throw insults, criticism and pain without acknowledging the devastating effect. In fact we are so out of touch with words that we have a saying, “ sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.” Unfortunately, words are far more devastating than sticks and stones. Words especially used by parents to children, develops a child’s perception of themselves. If a parent constantly is ridiculing a child or calling them names, that child will begin to develop the idea that is exactly who they are. And even our speech about others that children listen to also effects how our children view themselves in light of those people and how they view others.
Our job as parents are to encourage, lift up and admonish our children. We are to direct them to Christ through our words and our actions. We are suppose to build up in them who they are in Christ and arm them in how to handle insult and lies from the enemy. We are not to break our children down with our frustrations and insults leaving them to the enemy to have an identity built up in lies and pain. As parents, our words are heavy weighted and as Christian parents even more so. Take every opportunity to speak life into your children. Speak the word of God to them and over them denounce lies that they may believe and build with truth.