Take a moment to remember a compliment that has stuck with you. For example, I remember a friend telling me I was very intentional, and I really appreciated that.
Now, think of something someone said that was harsh. Maybe it was a biting remark, a lie, or a put-down. Unfortunately, those can come to mind much easier, and the negative things said to us can stick around longer than we want them to.
The Bible has so much to say about our words and their power. Our words can calm people down or rile them up; they can encourage or discourage the people around us—whether in person or online (Proverbs 12:18, 25; 15:1; 16:24). Our words can even show others our true intent. We see this when Jesus was confronting the Pharisees in Matthew 12. He explained how their words reflected the evil in their hearts. What was inside their hearts became the words they put into the world. Their words were more than just talk; they were a reflection of their hearts.
And that’s true for all of us. Our speech reflects who we are.
Sadly, without Jesus, all of our hearts are corrupt. We need Jesus to heal our hearts of sin before our speech can be truly wholesome. The good news is, as Christians, our hearts were cleansed the very moment we believed in Jesus (Acts 15:8-9). Now, as we rely on Jesus’s love for us, His death and resurrection, and His Holy Spirit’s power in us, God is continually transforming us more and more into the image of Jesus…and our speech reflects that transformation. We are forgiven, beloved people—so we can forgive and love those around us.
We’ve been given the amazing gift of communication, and this gift can help us live into the kingdom of God. Because Jesus died on the cross and rose from the grave to save and restore us, our words can bring life instead of death, healing instead of hurt, and encouragement instead of destruction. Of course, we won’t do this perfectly until Jesus returns, but as we are being transformed by our loving God, our words will follow (Philippians 2:13). • Naomi Zylstra
• Can you think of someone whose words often reflect who Jesus is? Consider taking a moment to thank God for that person, and maybe even find a way to encourage them today. If nobody comes to mind, you can ask God to reveal someone in the future.
• One of the primary ways the Holy Spirit transforms us is through Scripture. How could meditating on God’s words in the Bible help our words reflect Jesus?
Gentle words are a tree of life; a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit. Proverbs 15:4 (NLT)