Strengthen Your Child's Heart With Words
“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” (Ephesians 4:29, ESV)
I can honestly tell you I never intended to say the words aloud. It’s like they popped out of my mouth on their own accord -- the result of growing frustration and sheer exasperation with our tween-aged daughter.
We had just finished a particularly trying conversation and, while walking away, I shrugged my shoulders and said to no one in particular, “Oh, I give up!”
I. Give. Up.
Three surprisingly significant words -- especially when spoken within earshot of your own child. Something I’m keenly aware of now based on what she said to me later.
After several hours had passed, this same daughter -- this strong, determined, often unrelenting girl -- came to find me before bedtime. When she spotted me, she was so choked up she could barely get the words out.
“Oh, Mom. How could you give up? I can handle anyone, anyone else, giving up on me. But not you.”
Clearly, I had wounded my daughter with my words. I was mortified. How could I have been so careless and hurtful? Immediately convicted, I asked her forgiveness and assured her repeatedly I would never give up on her.
I also made a quiet vow to myself: I’d never again utter that phrase to, or about, my children. But even more importantly than what I would not say, I determined to be more intentional about the things that I would say.
The Bible addresses both sides of this conversation in Ephesians 4:29. First, “Let no corrupting [literally ‘rotten’ or ‘worthless’] talk come out of your mouths” and, secondly, “but only such as is good for building up [or ‘edifying’], as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”
Simply put: Our words are powerful.
As parents, we have tremendous influence and opportunity to use our words to either build up or to tear down. To encourage or discourage. The choice is ours.
For instance, consider the impact on my daughter if I’d said something like this instead: You are a strong person, and I believe God is going to use that strength in big ways someday.
Or, We might not always see things the same way, but I will always stay by your side.
Or, I don’t know everything, but here’s what I do know: You have something beautiful to offer that this world needs.
Just imagine if she had some of those words swirling around in her head as she was drifting off to sleep. Or if a few of these statements made their way into her prayers at night. Just imagine!
Maybe you have a child who could use some encouragement as well. What do you think he or she might be longing to hear from you? Because no matter what age they may be -- toddler, tween, teen or adult -- they desperately need words of love and strength spoken over them.
We all do.
So if you want to make a difference in your child’s life, begin by building up their heart and mind -- one strong, beautiful word at a time.
Dear heavenly Father, I realize the power behind what I choose to say, or not to say, to my child. Please help me use my words wisely and lovingly -- to build up, encourage and bless. I want to strengthen my child’s heart by the things I say. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
OUR FAVORITE THINGS
Do you want to speak life-giving words into your child’s heart? Matt and Lisa Jacobson’s new book, 100 Words of Affirmation Your Daughter Needs to Hear (and the companion, 100 Words of Affirmation Your Son Needs to Hear), offers 100 phrases to say to your daughter (or son) that deeply encourage and inspire -- simple, practical and actionable ways to communicate a strong message of love and affirmation.
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FOR DEEPER STUDY
Proverbs 12:18, “There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” (ESV)
Perhaps spend a few moments considering what and how you communicate to your child. Is it primarily kind and affirming? Take some time to write out the specific words or phrases you want to press upon your child’s heart, starting today.
© 2021 by Lisa Jacobson. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries thanks Revell for their sponsorship of today’s devotion.