Summary: Shows the importance of encouraging words in the family. This includes things said and unsaid.
Theme: To show the importance of using encouraging words in the family.
Text: James 3:3-6
James here speaks of the power of the tongue. Whereas a small bridle controls a horse and a small rudder controls a ship it is no surprise that a small tongue, a part of the body that is the with of your finger, controls us.
Let me show you this way. I need a volunteer. I need a volunteer who is willing to earn an extra twenty dollars. Hey we all could use twenty dollars. On this plate I have taken the privilege of pouring out this tube of toothpaste. Now all I need is for someone, who is willing to earn this twenty, to put this tooth paste back in the tube. Now you have to keep the tube in its original position. You can’t tear it up.
Well any volunteers. You see it can’t be done. This is a prime example of the words we use. Many times we say things in our family that we can’t take back. Oh we try and we try. We may apologize over and over again but yet we still can’t take everything back. We still can’t change what we said. That is why these words are so important. Just as it is impossible to put the toothpaste back in the tubes it is impossible to “unspeak” words.
David said in Psalms 141:3 “Set a guard over my mouth, O Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips.” His son Solomon, considered to be the wisest man who ever lived wrote in Proverbs 12:22, “The Lord detests lying lips, but he delights in men who are truthful.”
We must not only be careful of the negative things we say but also the thing we don’t say. Dr. Howard Hendricks was counseling a couple in his office one day. The couple had been married for 20 years, but they were considering getting a divorce. Dr. Hendricks asked the husband, “When was the last time you told your wife, ‘I love you.’”. After some thought and nervous agitation he replied, “On my wedding day I told my wife that I loved her, and it stands until I revoke it.”
Let me make something clear. There is a saying going around that says, “If you don’t have anything good to say, don’t say anything at all”. It sounds good on paper but the thing we must learn is the words that are not said could hurt just as bad as the words that are said. In other words not only should we avoid speaking words against someone but we should also try to find something good to say. If we could practice this principle in our family it would have an amazing impact on our spouse and on our children. If we could find something positive to say about someone instead of always trying to criticize it will change your attitude and the person you are talking to.
Try it the next time you notice a cashier having a hard time at the grocery store. Compliment them on something. See their attitude change.
Positive words help create a positive climate. I believe that Paul understood this when he wrote in Ephesians 4:29 “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.”