On my 15th birthday, as per our family custom, my family came into my room singing “happy birthday” to me. As I was just waking up and still under the covers on my special day, my parents handed me a beautifully wrapped present. I was shocked to see what was under the wrapping paper. It was a cute little LG flip phone, a pretty, steel-gray. I finally had my very own cell phone! It seemed like I waited an eternity to get one. I couldn’t believe my parents would entrust me with a phone. They thought it would be appropriate now that I was going to many tennis tournaments and staying late for practices after school. The phone was solely for communication with my parents. But in the eyes of 15-year-old me, the phone was a gateway to endless possibilities. As the months went by, my dad would see the phone bills. Let’s just say he wasn’t very happy. He couldn’t understand how his sweet daughter could stay up until 2 in the morning talking to her “friends” for 4 hours. I mean really, who talks for 4 hours about nothing?
On average, a human, whether male or female, tends to say around 15,942 words a day. Out of those 15,942 words we use a day, do you ever wonder how many are actually used to encourage and challenge those we talk to? I can say for certain that a lot of my days have been full of empty, wasted, hurtful words. Words come out my mouth like bullets. I’ve wished so many times that I didn’t say what I had said. I’ve regretted that certain words were heard coming out of my mouth. Why wasn’t I more thoughtful? Why do I talk so much? Why didn’t I just keep my mouth shut? These are good and important questions to ask. The word of God puts a huge emphasis on how we are to use our words. These days, this verse always comes to the forefront of my mind when I think twice about what words I choose to speak –
This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger. | James 1:19
So, what’s the solution to our problem of wasting our words? Instead of responding so quickly, our instinct must be to listen. We must think twice.
Every word counts. Our words most definitely matter. Our words can either push others to Christ or push them away. What a tragedy when we allow what we say to get in the way of the truth of the gospel! But that’s exactly what happens when we trip over our words. Don’t we want our words to bring life and truth to every situation? We should want to make things tasty with our words, “as though seasoned with salt.” We must be intentional in every word we speak! Slowing down is the key. Slowing down to the point that we listen first, then choose our words wisely, with help from above.
More times than I can think of, I’ve gotten in trouble for how I’ve said something to someone. Now, by the grace of God and with His divine help, I can be slow to speak and quick to hear. My words can count. Our desire should be to encourage and challenge others with our words, all while glorifying God. Thankfully the Holy Spirit makes this possible as He so gently directs us, prompting us to speak according to God’s perfect plan and will, to only bring much-needed attention and honor to the name of Jesus Christ.
Let’s make those 15,942 words we speak today count for Him.
And like Kid President said, “If you can’t think of anything nice to say, you’re not thinking hard enough.”