by Phyllis Ducey

I love words. They express beauty, ugliness, honesty, lies, compassion, bitterness, love, hate... they can create a whole world in our minds or they can tear down your world. All depends on how they are arranged, the tone used and the perception of the listener or reader. There is an art to words. With them you can (with mere strokes of the keyboard) enhance someone's life or destroy it.

Words have power and their power is not necessarily attributed by the speaker/writer but often to the perception of the person who is listening or reading. When talking you have the ability to adjust your tone and instantly see or hear how a person is perceiving what you are saying. But with so much of our communication being electronic in emails, forums, threads, and chat rooms, the intent of our words may easily be misinterpreted by the perception or world view of the reader. That is why it is so important to be as gracious as possible and as a Christian be extremely thoughtful of our words.

At work I have been accused of having a "golden shovel." In other words I can shovel it deep but I do it with honesty. For example, we are training employees and the speaker who normally handles the class is absent. You could say when you stand in front of the class "I'm sorry so & so could not make it today so you are stuck with me. Bear with me as I present." (And yes, I have heard people say that.) My way would be to say "I am so excited that so & so was unable to make the class because I am now privileged to have this opportunity to present it! We have some really great information to cover so let's get started!" Both basically say the same thing but one turns a disappointment into an opportunity; a dreaded hour into an anticipated one.

Without even realizing it I find my mind wordsmithing a negative to a positive constantly. I have several supervisors and coworkers who come to me to figure out how to phrase things in such a manner that it softens a blow or encourages rather than discourages an employee. And that to me is the real beauty of words... encouragement!

"But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness." Heb 3:13
A few encouraging words gently planted into someone's life can change their whole outlook for a minute, for an hour, for a day... for an eternity! I was checking out at the grocery store the other day and the guy who was checking our groceries looked to be around 19 or 20. He never said hi or made eye contact. I was a little irritated that he did not do either since that is part of his job but instead of fostering my irritation, I prayed for him. I finally told him that he looked tired today. He instantly responded with a whole dissertation on how he works two jobs and told us about his other job, which happened to be as a budding young tattooist. He was so into his life story that he kept talking even after the bags were all full. I doubt if I affected him for eternity but I do know my words brightened that moment of his day for him. He felt respected and valued as we listened to his story.

Listening (that would be a whole other post) goes hand-in-hand with words. When you listen the other person gets the opportunity to express with their words. They feel valued and cared about. And if you listen real close you can find within their pain, sorrow or concerns a positive in the situation to encourage them in the Lord.

"Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another - and all the more as you see the Day approaching." Heb 10:25
And there are times... words fail us. When there are no words adequate to express ourselves. We are unable to relate our feelings or our caring for others. That is the time to turn to prayer... to not tell the Lord what to do but say here it is and let His Spirit intercede for you.

"In the same way, the spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express." Rom 8:26
God has gifted us with so very much. To me, words are one of those wonderful gifts. It is up to us to choose to use this gift wisely and bless the Lord through them.


Here are some wonderful shops that feature encouraging words for each of us. Please check them out and always remember to heart!!

Comments (14)

On June 21, 2010 at 12:55 AM , new creationz said...

What a great encouring post Phyllis. Thank you so much. I think we often forget the power of words.

On June 21, 2010 at 6:35 AM , nancy said...

Wonderful post. Thanks for sharing.

On June 21, 2010 at 8:52 AM , Fishtail Designs said...

Wonderful! Thanks Phyllis for including my vinyl art :) So thankful that God is glorified through our art!!!

On June 21, 2010 at 9:36 AM , Sue Runyon said...

Thanks Phyllis. I will try to work on that this week. This post goes so well with my post for tomorrow too :-)

On June 21, 2010 at 10:06 AM , MYSAVIOR said...

Thank you for this wonderful post. This is what I have been working on for a few years now. After a while, it does begin to come naturally.


On June 21, 2010 at 10:20 AM , ZudaGay said...

You definitely have the gift of encouragement! Thanks for the reminder to make our words uplifting and full of grace.

On June 21, 2010 at 10:59 AM , Jordanne said...

Great encouragement. This reminded me of a quote from a Beth Moore study I did a while back: "God entrusted to womankind a most wonderful and terrible gift: the power of influence." It was based off Acts 13:50 where women were using their influence and words to cause Paul to get persecuted. Anyhow, thanks for the challenge and encouragement... I know I struggle with words daily!

On June 21, 2010 at 11:25 AM , sammysgrammy said...

Amazing!! How timely is the Spirit of God.
I'm sure you have no idea how many these words of yours have influenced.
I, for one, am so blessed because GOD spoke to me through your pen.

On June 21, 2010 at 1:55 PM , rokstudy said...

Profound article! Thank you for sharing such thoughtful words. Thank you for including me.

On June 21, 2010 at 4:06 PM , Julie Riisnaes said...

Thank you for this - so true and so easy to slip up in this area!

On June 21, 2010 at 9:12 PM , sweetybird09 said...

So true about words, thanks for the reminder...

On June 21, 2010 at 9:50 PM , KippysSoMature said...

excellent!! yes - pray first....and listen , then speak and/or write - how often I need to be reminded! Thank you for reminding :D
thank you for your posts Phyllis - thank you for taking the time :O)

On June 21, 2010 at 11:02 PM , Lizzi said...

I love this post. Love love love it (okay that's more accurate lol.) Everything here was right on, but the part about it being a technological and that changing the whole way communication is presented and received was especially true :-) Thank you for this post, I need to be reminded daily of the correct way to communicate.

On June 22, 2010 at 8:45 AM , Our Family said...

Wow! What a great reminder! Words do have the power to lift up or crush another's spirit. In this world where so many people are searching for acceptance, this is such a fabulous reminder that as Christians it's our job to uplift and share God with others, not condemn...with our words and even the looks we give others.

I needed to hear this today. Thank you for speaking what God laid on your heart. i always enjoy your posts!