Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Nourishing Words

Unbelievably, today is the last day of November, and I've not yet explored all the ideas I had hoped to blog about for my Nourishing November series!!  Oh well, I guess blogging is a lot like football -- there's always next year!!  ;)

Today, I want to discuss the impact our words have to nourish and build up our families or to destroy and tear down.   Proverbs 14:1 says, "Every wise woman buildeth her house, but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands."  A major way that we as women either build up and nourish or tear down and destroy our families is through our words.

Stop and take inventory.  Are most of the words you speak to your husband and children loving, gentle, encouraging, uplifting and nurturing??  Or is the majority of your speech angry, harsh, negative, sarcastic, belittling and critical??

Proverbs 12:18 puts it this way, "There are those who speak rashly like the piercing of the sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing."  (Amplified version)  

We are either wise or foolish women.  A wise woman uses her tongue to build up and nourish her family, while the foolish woman uses hers to cut and wound like the piercing of a sword!  Wow!  What a vivid picture!  Obviously, we want to put our swords away and speak words of life to our families!!  Let's talk about ways we can use our words to nourish those we love the most!

Speak sweet, pleasant words.

Proverbs 16:24 says, "Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones."  (Isn't that thought-provoking in light of what we discovered yesterday about osteoporosis??)

So, the first thing to keep in mind is that our words should be sweet and pleasant.  Not sickly sweet and insincere, but sweet to our own taste buds when they roll off the tongue, and pleasant to the ears of those who hear them.  Pleasant words nourish our families, just like honey and the honeycomb nourish the body!

Speak words of encouragement.

Proverbs 12:25 says, Anxiety in a man's heart weighs it down, but an encouraging word makes it glad."  (Amplified version)

Our husbands are often weighed down with the cares of this world, including financial woes, problems at work, and troubles at home.  We should not add to their burdens, but seek ways to make their load lighter!  Instead of complaining, nagging, and criticizing our husbands when they get home from work, we should look for ways to encourage them and speak life-giving words to lighten their spirits.

Our children also need to hear words of encouragement and praise.  Of course, children require much correction and instruction, but at times the scales are tipped so that all a child hears in the course of a day is correction.  We need to make sure we balance the scales by heaping on the blessings and the praise! 

Speak gently.

Proverbs 15:1 says, "A soft answer turneth away wrath, but grievous words stir up anger."  This should be one of the first verses we teach our children!!

Many times an argument can be diffused simply by reigning in our tongues and forcibly causing ourselves to speak quietly, gently and calmly, even when we feel like lashing out!

The wisdom of this verse will amaze you as you apply it in a variety of situations!  Try speaking gently and quietly the next time your husband speaks harshly or your teenage son responds testily. (Remember that he is just a ticking testosterone bomb and tread softly!!)   Many times that soft answer will diffuse a difficult situation and help avoid an explosion!

Speak words of wisdom.

Proverbs 31:26 says, "She opens her mouth in skillful and godly wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness (giving counsel and instruction)."  (Amplified version)

Our words should be full of godly wisdom and spoken in kindness.  This will only be true if we are consistently renewing our minds with God's word.  Otherwise, we will instruct and counsel our families based on the foolishness of the world's wisdom, which is what we hear when we turn on the TV, read the newspaper, or flip open a women's magazine.  The best place to start if we want to acquire godly wisdom is the book of Proverbs.

Nancy Campbell, who has been encouraging women through her Above Rubies ministry for the past 32 years, has this to say about the power of our words -- "Your husband will change when you stop nagging and start encouraging.  Your children will thrive and blossom on encouragement.  The atmosphere in your home will change.  You will even be healthier.  Discouraging words can make people sick.  Positive, life-giving words give health."

Truly, nourishing our families is about more than what we put into their mouths!!  Actually, what comes out of our mouths may have an even greater impact on our families' health!  (Take time to read Matthew 15:11-20 for greater insight on this.)  

So, how healthy are you and your family?  Is your family flourishing?  Or is it weak and malnourished?  Are you willing to commit with me to speak only words that nourish and build up your family??  Please leave me a comment letting me know!

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Christi Wildman said...

Your words convict me - I need to be slow to speak, quick to listen....
Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:" James 1:19

I know these verses!
In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips [is] wise. Prov 10:19 - and you have reminded me to live them!

Becky said...

What an encouraging post. Thank you! This stuck out in particular: "So, the first thing to keep in mind is that our words should be sweet and pleasant. Not sickly sweet and insincere, but sweet to our own taste buds when they roll off the tongue, and pleasant to the ears of those who hear them."

It's easy to shift into "Barney the Friendly Dinosaur" mode, where our words may seem sweet, but they are false. It's a good reminder to hold captive every word and thought.

Lori Alexander said...

Oh, I love those words from Nancy Campbell. It is so true. I have witnessed it in my own home. It is a much happier place now that I have decided to be happy and encourage others!

Finding Balance mommy said...

I've been trying very hard to monitor my words and tone of voice much more than I used to. It seems like a difficult balance as you said in correcting my kids throughout the day yet balancing it with tons of love and encouragement. I also find it difficult when I haven't seen my husband all day and I have thought of a bunch of stuff to discuss to hold off and wait until he's ready to listen. Thanks for the encouragement. :-)

6blessings said...

I needed to hear this. Our basement flooded yesterday and I am ashamed to say my words were not kind.
Thanks for the reminder!

Jenny Ervin said...

Our words are so important! I love your blog! Thanks for linking up with Wisdom Wednesday!

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