In his book, A Love Worth Giving, Max Lucado told this story about Nathaniel Hawthorn. “Nathaniel Hawthorne came home heartbroken. He’d just been fired from his job in the custom house. His wife, rather than responding with anxiety, surprised him with joy. ‘Now you can write your book?’ He wasn’t so positive. ‘And what shall we live on while I’m writing it?’ To his amazement she opened a drawer and revealed a wad of money she’d saved out of her housekeeping budget. ‘I always knew you were a man of genius,’ she told him. ‘I always knew you’d write a masterpiece.’ She believed in her husband. And because she did, he wrote. And because he wrote, every library in America has a copy of The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne.”
Proverbs 18:20-21 stated, “People will be rewarded for what they say; they will be rewarded by how they speak. What you say can mean life or death. Those who speak with care will be rewarded”(NCV). This passage points out that our words can have a tremendous impact on ourselves and others. Some of the ways that our words have consequence:
Kind and instructive words can feed others with wisdom. “The lips of the righteous feed many, but fools die for lack of sense” (Proverbs 10:21, ESV).
Saying the right words can relieve a heart that is burdened with anxiety and care. “Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad” (Proverbs 12:25, ESV).
Well-chosen words are like medicine in that they provide strength to those who hear. “To make an apt answer is a joy to a man, and a word in season, how good it is!” (Proverbs 15:23, ESV). “The heart of the wise makes his speech judicious and adds persuasiveness to his lips. Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body” (Proverbs 16:23-24, ESV). “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver” (Proverbs 25:11, ESV). In other words, it is saying the right thing at the right time.
The fact is, not everything that comes to our minds should come out of our mouths. Some people are so negative that they just drain the life out of everyone they come in contact with. They say, “Well I just say it like I see it,” and that’s the problem; their entire worldview is negative and critical and they poison everyone that comes in contact with them. Socrates said, “Speak, that I may see thee.” Often our words betray who we really are. I want to be the kind of person that when I am with others, the words that I speak are helpful, uplifting, edifying, and timely. When a person leaves my company I want them to say that “This has been time well spent.”
Let me encourage you to be intentional in what you say; purpose to speak life and not death. Determine to be the encounter of a lifetime to someone.
Question: How can a person change their disposition from being negative to positive?