Words Matter

Proverbs 25:11 A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.

The day after Johnny was born, I wheeled Joann to the Neonatal Intensive Care unit in a wheelchair to spend some time with our newborn son.  She was nervous and apprehensive about the new life that lied ahead for us.  “All the nurses are going to be watching to see how I react to seeing him,” she thought.  As we approached Johnny’s incubator we saw a petite, elderly nun standing next to it talking to Johnny.  Joann struggled to her feet and the nun turned to her and asked if she was the baby’s mother.  Joann said that she was and the nun told her that Johnny had such a sweet personality, Joann wondered how she could know that.  Then the nun said something that helped Joann change her perspective on the trials that were ahead, “Just think, God chose you to be his mother.”  Those words were exactly what Joann needed to hear at the time.  If the woman had said that she was sorry, or that you have a long road ahead of you.  It would have just played into the thoughts that she was already thinking.  Instead, it was an affirmation that the Lord had given this precious child to her as a gift.  The nun proved to also be prophetic in her assessment of Johnny, he did have a sweet personality.

The words we choose are so important at times of trial and grief.  We need to think before we speak, especially at times of heartache.  Our desire should be to encourage, not to discourage others.  It is not a time to compare pain or give great advice.  When someone hurts they just need a word fitly spoken.  Sometimes saying nothing is more helpful than saying something “profound.”

Ask the Lord to help us measure our words today.  May our words build someone up and not tear someone down. Let’s think and pray, before we speak.