The Power of Positive Words

6 Feb

Older Woman - upsetA husband and wife are getting ready for bed. The wife is standing in front of a full-length mirror taking a hard look at herself.

“You know, dear,” she says, “I look in the mirror, and I see an old woman. My face is all wrinkled, my hair is gray, my shoulders are hunched over, I’ve got fat legs, and my arms are all flabby.” She turns to her husband and says, “Tell me something positive to make me feel better about myself.”

He studies hard for a moment thinking about it and then says in a soft, thoughtful voice, “Well, there’s nothing wrong with your eyesight.” *

Granted, the wife might have had hubby in a lose-lose situation on that one … but he tried!

It’s similar to the recent insurance commercial about Abe Lincoln. Abe’s wife asked whether a certain dress made her backside look big, and the trapped president gestured, “Maybe just a little.” Sometimes there’s just no way out when a woman asks a man for his opinion. Right? That doesn’t require brutal honesty. Ephesians 4:15 says, “Speak the truth in love.” But sometimes, staying silent is a mark of wisdom! (See Proverbs 17:28.)

But what I [Dawn] am writing about today isn’t careful responses to touchy questions, but rather, simple positive words that act as oil in relationships. Encouraging words. Positive words that can bring healing. Positive words that can comfort. Positive words that build and inspire. Proverbs 16:24 says, “Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.”

There is great power in our words. Life and death are in the power of the tongue (Proverbs 18:21).  Our words can destroy (James 3:5-8): “You’re so stupid. You can’t do anything right.”  But words also have the ability to inspire life and growth: “God is using you. He gave you a real gift.”  The choice is ours.

It’s not just what we say to others, but what we say to ourselves that affects our relationships. Our words can become self-fulfilling prophecies, so we must be careful to guard our thoughts and words. Our words come from our thoughts – what we dwell on or where we focus. Like seeds planted into our lives, thoughts and words take root and blossom, and they may not give us the harvest we want.

My mom often quoted Thumper, the rabbit from the movie, Bambi. Maybe your mom said this, too:  “If you can’t say somethin’ nice, don’t say nothin’ at all.” She wasn’t prohibiting truth-telling; that was a character quality worth developing. But she did want me to guard against negativity. She wanted me to think carefully before I opened my mouth.

You can laugh, but my mom’s Thumper lectures made a big difference in my conversations until I learned some scriptures as a young woman that had even more influence.

Exercise positive choice every time you open your mouth. If you’re a wife, I encourage you to take a special challenge promoted by the Revive Our Hearts ministry. It’s called the “30-Day Husband Encouragement Challenge.Try it, and notice the effect you’ll have as you keep your words positive.

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