Proverbs 8:21 says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits” (NRSV).
Earlier we read that to step towards someone is life and to step away is death. The spoken word can either be words that bring blessing or words that bring cursing. And if there aren’t any words from parents that communicate love and acceptance, children will assume they aren’t worthy of words of blessing. This is tragic. They will end up wondering in life if they really mattered.
God must think highly of the spoken word because He gave us the Bible, His Word. But He also gave us His son, Jesus. His Word “became flesh and lived among us,” (John 1:14). If God communicated His blessing to us through His words, then so should we. James, Jesus’ brother describes our spoken words two ways.
If you’re a parent, your words, like a ship’s rudder steer your children in a certain direction. “Though they are so large that it takes strong winds to drive them, yet they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs” (James 3:4 NRSV).
Words carelessly spoken can do terrible damage. Words that speak death can divide people and relationships. Parents who speak critical words can sear pain straight to their souls, leaving scars for life. On the other hand, words that speak life, bring the blessing full circle and can propel children to a special future.
James also describes a careless or critical tongue as a fire. “How great a forest is set ablaze by a small fire! And the tongue is a fire. The tongue is placed among our members as a world of iniquity; it stains the whole body, sets on fire the cycle of nature, and is itself set on fire by hell” ( James 3:5-6 nrsv). Notice the last part of that verse–“the cycle of nature.” In most cases, if parents lack the ability to convey words of acceptance and love, it is usually because they didn’t get them from their parents. This is why speaking words that bring blessing has to be deliberate. By putting off sharing words of love and acceptance till someday down the road, may never happen. Leaving unspoken words that bless is leaving the opportunity to chance. As God was deliberate in sending his Son, Jesus to be the Word in flesh, we also need to be deliberate in sending words of love and approval to our childen.
John Trent and Gary Smalley say in their book, The Blessing: “Words of blessing should start in the delivery room and continue throughout life. Yet the “lack of time” and the motto, “I’ll have time to tell them tomorrow,” rob the children of a needed blessing today.” But words that speak life and blessing can literally transform a child and breathe life into that soul. It can even change the course of direction for that child.
Solomon, in all his wisdom also said, “Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it” (Proverbs 3:27 nrsv). Let his words be your source of encouragement to communicate words of love and acceptance to your children, family members, and even our friends.
There is much more on this topic from Trent and Smalley’s book, The Blessing. I encourage you to read the book.
If you are a parent that is deployed, your words of blessing can still be conveyed even if you aren’t home to speak them yourself. See how on Thursday when we’ll explore the “how” and “what” to say when conveying words of blessing. The next element of the blessing is attaching high value to our words.
Don’t forget to download my 15-Day Devotional that accompanies my soon-to-be-released book, “Faith Steps for Military Families.” Just enter your name and email address in the bonus box at the top right hand side of this page and you’ll have access to the devotional. Thanks for coming. I invite you to leave a comment.