Monday, July 25, 2011

speak well

Take a look at these comments of a wife to her husband:
"Why are you late again?" (spoken with a sharp accusative tongue)
"I see you still haven't finished the project you said you'd do.  Knowing you, it'll never get done."
"If you don't like they way I cook, why don't you fix dinner from now on!"
With comments like these and many more just like them, how much do you think that husband looks forward to coming home?

Now, take a look at these:
"Honey, welcome home...I can see from your face you had a rough day.  Thank you for taking the weight of the world on your shoulders and working so hard (spoken kindly and with hands massaging his neck).  Wanna talk about it? Can I get you a drink?"
"Projects always seem to take longer than we hope they will when we start them.  I know the need for all the Home Depot trips can be discouraging, but you're a winner...I know you'll persevere!  I'm so proud of you for taking this on when you have so many things competing for your attention.  It means a lot to me.  Thanks Honey."
"Hey Babe, I'm making the menu for next you have anything you want me to make sure I include on it for you?  Would you like some more of those ribs you said you liked a couple weeks ago?"
Do you think these kinds of comments might have a different effect?

True confession:  I like to proofread because I get paid for what comes very naturally for me (being critical).  But as one who wants to grow in Christ-likeness, I have self-consciously worked at restraining my critical thinking and words except in places where there is godly reason for it, and though I have to admit I have a ways to go, I have (by God's grace and with the enabling of the Holy Spirit) made progress and am tasting the sweet fruits of it in my family and friendships. 

How do we talk with our spouse?  How do we talk with our children?   Do we encourage and build up or are we tearing down?  Are we looking to the 20 things that we can say something positive about or harping on the few things that we don't like?  Even when we do need to bring correction, there is a big difference between a razor-edged "Would you pick up your own stinkin' socks?" and a kind "Honey, it would bless me if you put your socks in the hamper." There is much power in our tongue.  God tells us in Proverbs 18:21 that "Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit."  One way or another, if we're talkers, we're going to eat the fruit of how we talk.  Is the general pattern of our words life-giving or life-taking? 

I know this is written simplistically.  But if you are finding your home life to be somewhere in the range of miserable to business-like at best, you just might take an inventory of your speech.  If you note that you tend to be critical and harsh, confess it and seek the forgiveness of your spouse and/or your children and any others you speak that way towards.  Ask God to forgive you and to help you use the tongue He gave you wisely and kindly for His glory.  Commit yourself to look for ways you could bless, encourage, build up, and speak the truth in love, and practice every day.  A barren land can become a beautiful oasis with the introduction of life-giving water.  

1 comment:

  1. Connie, this post is for me. I know I have a "tone" when I talk to my husband. Not all the time, but a lot. I'm aware of it now and I'm trying to change it. Definitely need God to give me new words. Thanks!