You know that saying that goes “actions speak louder than words”?
I’ve always had trouble totally agreeing with it, because my life experiences have proven to me that words matter. Actions are very important. Yes they are! But I believe words have a unique power all their own.
When someone is discouraged, when someone has lost hope, when someone is searching for answers, when someone needs reassurance, when someone needs clarity, words can be vital. Think about it - in many situations words are the first response; they precede action.
Words are the fastest, most immediate way to pass on hope.
If you’ve followed loved+blessed for any amount of time, I’m sure you can guess my love language is words of affirmation. I tend to give and receive love best through encouragement, appreciation, empathy, active listening, writing - sending/receiving unexpected texts, cards and emails.
Even if words of affirmation isn’t your love language, as a Christian, the Bible instructs us to speak the truth in love.
“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace….It was He who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into Him who is the Head, that is, Christ. From Him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.” - Ephesians 4:2-3, 11-16
“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. — Ephesians 4:29
When we think before we speak, we are not only taking the time to make sure our words are edifying to others, but we’re also protecting ourselves from putting our foot in our mouths!
“He who guards his lips guards his life, but he who speaks rashly will come to ruin. - Proverbs 13:3
“The heart of the righteous weighs its answers, but the mouth of the wicked gushes evil. — Proverbs 15:28
“A fool’s mouth is his undoing, and his lips are a snare to his soul. — Proverbs 17:7
Our words can destroy relationships and cause division.
“A perverse man stirs up dissension, and a gossip separates close friends. — Proverbs 16:28
“Starting a quarrel is like breaching a dam; so drop the matter before a dispute breaks out. — Proverbs 17:14
“A scoundrel plots evil, and his speech is like a scorching fire. — Proverbs 16:27
When someone comes at us with anger or hate, we can choose to respond with love and grace.
“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. — Proverbs 15:1
In every situation we must practice self-control.
“A hot-tempered man stirs up dissension, but a patient man calms a quarrel. — Proverbs 15:18
“A man of knowledge uses words with restraint, and a man of understanding is even-tempered. — Proverbs 17:27
Listening is just as important as speaking.
“He who answers before listening - that is his folly and his shame. — Proverbs 18:13
When we speak truth we can bring healing and lift someone’s spirits.
“The tongue that brings healing is a tree of life, but a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit. — Proverbs 15:4
“Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. — Proverbs 16:24
Our words can be the right-on-time encouragement that someone else needs.
“A man finds joy in giving an apt reply - and how good is a timely word! — Proverbs 15:23
“The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit. — Proverbs 18:21
Seriously, I could go on and on with verses from scripture, but I think you get my point. Words matter.
Pass Hope On
So I want to encourage you not to take them for granted.
Don’t neglect greeting strangers with a “hello.” It acknowledges that we are seen.
Don’t neglect saying “see you later” or “welcome home”, it reminds us that we’re welcome.
Don’t neglect asking how someone is really doing. It reminds us that someone cares.
Don’t neglect texting a joke, funny picture or a meme. It relieves tension and gives us an opportunity to laugh.
Don’t neglect responding to messages - whether text or email or video - it reminds us we are connected.
Don’t neglect writing some good ‘ole fashion snail mail. The time and care you took to do it can cultivate a feeling of hopefulness in someone’s heart that’s worth the extra effort of dropping it in the mail.
Passing on hope isn’t expensive. It isn’t hard. Your words don’t have to be perfect or eloquent, they just have to come from your heart.
“Moses said to the Lord, “Oh Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to our servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.” The Lord said to him, “Who gave man his mouth? who makes him deaf or mute? Who gives him sight or makes him blind? Is it not I, the Lord? Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.” (Exodus 4:10-12)
Whether spoke or written, God will give you the right words to communicate. He will give you words that have the power to
and so much more…
My prayer is that you will not take for granted the power of your words and use them to lift others up and speak truth in love in all circumstances.
May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. (Psalm 19:14)
Do you know the power of your own words? Which scriptures from this post really stand out to you?
Jamila is the founder of loved+blessed. On her personal mission to leave a legacy of encouragement, she blogs about her own life lessons with the hope that it will bring joy into others’ lives and help them find the courage to keep walking in faith knowing that all things work together for the good of those who love the Lord. Read her testimony of how God turned her misery into ministry.