Most of my life I have been a person who “always speaks her mind” and “doesn’t have a filter” as I have heard many people express over the years. Believe me, Godly communication is something I continue to struggle with. I still open my mouth more often than I would like with a sarcastic rebuttal or a joke that (come to find out) hurt someone’s feelings. But my weakness is an opportunity to allow God to be strong in me – to change me from the inside out. My weakness is an opportunity to surrender this area of my life to the Holy Spirit every day so he can make me look a little more like Jesus.
Throughout my walk with Christ, he has convicted me about this (sometimes inappropriate) tendency to “say what no one else will.” Just because it’s true doesn’t mean it should be spoken at that time or in that place. Just because it’s true doesn’t mean it should be spoken in that tone of voice. Just because it’s true doesn’t mean it’s my place to bring it up. Honesty, openness and accountability are of high value, but we must rely on the Holy Spirit to guide us so we are speaking the truth in love that builds others up, not in harshness that tears others down. Here is a simple, Biblical prayer that is helpful for anyone who might share my struggles: Set a guard over my mouth, Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips (Psalm 141:3).
The truth is that most people are fully aware of their flaws and shortcomings; most people spend (too) much of their time internally reviewing their own inadequacies. But can they see their own potential? Maybe that is where you come in, armed with the love of Christ, the wisdom of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God.
The words you and I speak over people have the power to bring them life or death. Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit—you choose (Proverbs 18:21). This is especially true in your most important relationships, specifically your marriage and with your children. I do not have children of my own, but I was blessed enough to have parents who spoke words of life over me. As a result, I knew that I could accomplish anything I set my mind to; I did not doubt that I was loved because they made it a point to tell me so. They spoke life to me, and it gave me life. Now, it is my mission (my calling) to speak life over my sphere of influence, especially my own family.
The Message version of 1 Corinthians 13 (the love chapter) says that love Trusts God always, always looks for the best, never looks back, but keeps going to the end. Always looking for the best in someone is an accurate reflection of Godly love that is required in order to speak words of life over others. Before you can speak encouraging words to someone, you have to see the good in them. God does this for us; He does not see us as we are but as we CAN be. He doesn’t see actuality, he sees possibility.
We have a role to play in the growth of others through our actions and words. We have the authority to prophesy over people in Jesus name by telling them, “you are a mighty man or woman of God!” even if their actions do not yet reflect that. Speak things that are not as though they are through the authority you have in Jesus. I am so grateful for the people who have done this for me, and it is an honor to be able to speak life over the people I love.
Who can you speak life over? Who can you encourage today? Make it a point to tell someone about the good you see in them. You never know how much it may change the trajectory of their lives.