Summary: Last of this series on how we can use our tongues for good or bad.
How We Talk
Part 4 – Words of Encouragement
May 2, 2010
NOTE: THE ME/WE/GOD/YOU/WE FORMAT IS FROM ANDY STANLEY'S BOOK, "COMMUNICATING FOR A CHANGE."
Me: This is the last message in a series about how we speak.
We started off looking at how what we say is a reflection of what’s in our heart, because Jesus says our mouth speaks from the overflow of our heart.
Then we talked about how to speak the truth in love. It’s not enough to just throw the truth in someone’s face – we need to do it in a way that communicates our love for them so they’ll hear it and receive it better.
Last week we talked about getting rid of “potty-mouth.” And it wasn’t about cussing, it was about things that I believe are worse and far more dangerous than cussing, and that was slander, gossip, and lying.
Today, as you can tell by title on your note-taking guide, is about speaking words of encouragement.
Some of the best memories of my life are times when someone took me aside, looked me in the eyes, and told me something encouraging.
Someone saw something in me that caused them to take a moment and let me know what it is they saw.
Other times I’d get a letter or a phone call. Just the other day I got an e-mail from someone I’ve never met but who has been using my messages in his ministry at a rescue mission in Oregon.
We: Everyone likes to hear good things about themselves from time to time.
Everyone likes to know they’re not a loser in someone’s eyes.
Everyone likes to get an atta-boy or atta-girl once in a while. Just make sure you’re giving the right one of those to the right person, okay?
I can’t think of single person who hates hearing someone say something nice to them once in a while.
Even the most modest person enjoys that. They just won’t brag about it and maybe try to deflect the praise.
But they like it – just like anybody else.
God: I want to just run through a number of Scriptures that point to the importance and power of words of encouragement.
We won’t spend a lot of time on these, but I want you to see how Scripture addresses this.
And by the way, you might find one or two of these that you might want to write down and memorize this week.
Proverbs 10:21 (NLT) –
21 The words of the godly encourage many.
People who have a solid walk with Jesus have the potential to positively influence a lot of people. I don’t think enough godly people realize that.
Proverbs 12:25 (NLT) –
25 Worry weighs a person down; an encouraging word cheers a person up.
I think all of us can relate to that one, right? You’ve been down and someone says just the right thing to bring you up. It’s a great thing, isn’t it?
Or maybe you’ve been the one to say that thing that brought someone else up. That’s a pretty awesome thing, too.
The wise in heart are called discerning, and pleasant words promote instruction.
You want to help someone learn something or get better at something, especially your kids?
Try encouraging them instead of yelling at them about it.
This is especially important when it comes to children.
Some of you have been to games or sports competitions where instead of cheering the kids on, they’re yelling at them to do this better or do that better.
The anger and even the rage in their voices sometimes tells you that that kid is in for trouble when he gets home, no matter how well he does.
That’s not encouraging – it’s bringing fear. And how’s that gonna help someone improve?
It’s not just sports, either. It can music, or grades.
How many people do you know pressure their kids to get good grades, and when they don’t the kid is made to look bad to himself, his friends, his teachers, and even the parents’ friends.
I’m not saying we shouldn’t want our kids to do well. But let’s encourage them in what they do well as well as well as where they struggle.
There’s generally no need to pressure children unnecessarily. Or anybody else for that matter.
Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.
This is a verse I’ve put on a post-it note by my computer where I can see it every day.
Doesn’t that just say something to your spirit about how important it is for us to encourage people?
I don’t even like honey or honeycombs – although I do like Honeycombs cereal – but there is no mistaking the message in this verse.