While perusing bacon brands at my local supermarket, I couldn’t help but be aware of a mother screaming at her family like a 1990’s communist gymnastic coach at the Olympics. I’ll be the first to admit, sometimes a mother needs to get on this level with her brood and then hit the door. Count the trip as a loss and eat a supper of PB&J’s. I’ll also concede that as a mother of two rambunctious boys ages two and under, I’m no final word on the Art of Motherhood, though I have braved a rather intense Basic Training. What I am sure of is this: words have power (Proverbs 12:6).
I am a dog person. I’ve loved purebreds and pound-puppies without prejudice. I am familiar with the beaten and broken as well as the built-up and beaming. As a humane society frequenter, I saw dogs either had a past of being a “good dog” or “bad dog,”—and each certainly knew to which category they belonged.
I have no doubts that the downtrodden of society have been made too aware of their undervalue to others. If one feels underappreciated, it must be difficult to express consistent love and instill confidence in others. Everyone, but especially our children, needs to be reassured of their value and our love for them regularly. Maybe this was best illustrated in Kathryn Stockett’s The Help when the maid Aibileen encourages the children she cares for by telling them, “You is good. You is kind. You is important.”
Me stating “words have power” is not a new information. Multiple books have been written about how people work harder and do more than expected of them when they are offered legitimate praise verses cracking whips. If this isn’t a cutting-edge revelation, why does society continue to tell people that they worthless, insignificant, and unloved? So many are plagued with feelings of anxiety, depression, or addiction stemming from feelings of inadequacy. What’s the measuring stick? I can think of only one perfect example: Jesus, and He died for our shortcomings (1 John 3:5).
Are some walking about with an over-inflated sense of worth? Of course they are out there, because every issue has two extremes. Point of the matter: we need to be ever aware of how to and why we should love and encourage others. Do not be a Machiavellian Mother, for kids should know we are safe and we are love—not a force to fear and fight.
Our words are so important, that Jesus says we will one day stand before Him and be accountable for every “careless word” spoken (Matthew: 12:36-37). May we never be inattentive or negligent with the power we possess. Rather, may we eat of its fruit and bring life to those around us (Proverbs 18:21). May your words be like honey (Proverbs 16:24).
- The words of the wicked are a deadly ambush, but the speech of the upright rescues them. Proverbs 12:6 HCSB
- You know that He appeared in order to take away sins; and in Him there is no sin. 1 John 3:5 NASB
- “But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” Matthew 12:36-37 NASB
- The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit. Proverbs 18:21 NIV
- Kind words are like honey–sweet to the soul and healthy for the body. Proverbs 16:24