Proverbs 25:11 says, “A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.” In other words, just as the right accessory can beautifully frame a piece of jewelry, so the right word at just the right time can make a big difference to someone who needs to hear it.
Additionally, James 3:9-10 reminds us, “With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be.” All of us can think of people in our lives who have had a big influence over us, who always seemed to be able to say just the right thing at the right time. We can also remember times when we have been wounded by the careless words of someone whose opinion mattered to us.
The old saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” is very mistaken. As we enter the new year, let’s remember that the words we use make a big difference to those who hear them — sometimes with the power to build up, but other times with a terrible power to hurt or tear down.
Many people are familiar with a document called “A Short Course in Human Relations.” It was a list of what the writer considered the most important words and phrases that we can use in dealing with other people. After reflecting on this, and with an eye towards beginning the new year by being more mindful of the power of “a word fitly spoken,” here are my suggestions for the most important words we can say to each other:
- I’m sorry.
- I love you.
- Thank you.
- Let me help.
- You can do it!
- I made a mistake.
- What do you think?
- You did a good job.
- We (As opposed to I, me, my or mine)
May we all be known as people who build up others with words of encouragement! God’s richest blessings on you and yours for a prosperous, safe and happy 2015.