The Edifying Power of Words

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You can use your words to tear each other down or build each other up. What can you do to make certain that you speak words that build up?

Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification. Ephesians 4:29

As our kids were growing up, they had a few favorite games we played time and again. One of those games was a strategy game called Jenga. In that game, players remove pieces from a tower of blocks and place them back on top of the structure. As you move the blocks, you must be careful not to cause the tower to fall. The key to winning the game is to correctly assess which blocks can be removed to actually increase the stability of the tower. Some blocks reinforce the tower, but others actually make it less stable.

My (Teresa's) words are a lot like the blocks in that game. Some of my words can reinforce David, while others can tear him down. My words could make our relationship stronger or they could destabilize it. It is sober­ing to realize the power of my words.

Research shows that it takes ten to twelve positive words or messages to build receptivity to one message of criticism. Sadly, in too many homes there are twelve words of criticism for every positive word spoken. That's obviously not what God has in mind.

Taking Ephesians 4:29 seriously has made a difference in the words that I allow to come out of my mouth. I try to filter my words through the Jenga test. Before I speak, I try to ask, "Will my words reinforce this person's growth, or will they undermine that growth? Will my words strengthen my husband's or children's resolve to change in a positive way, or will my words bring discouragement and doubt?"

From time to time, I still allow corruptive words to come out of my mouth, but there are significantly fewer of them. God has begun a great work in me and it still continues.

What can you do to make certain that you speak more words that build up?

Lord, station a guard at my lips to speak only words that edify.

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