She tugged on her grandmother’s sleeve. Four years old and blonde, bouncing curls. “Gramma, look! Look at me, Gramma!” We had played up the visit. It was the first time ever in her memory that she had met this grandparent. We told her how much her Gramma loved her, and couldn’t wait to see her. She was very excited about this trip.
“Honey, don’t pull on me. Why don’t you just go sit over there for a while?” Gramma sighed impatiently, bouncing her baby cousin, and turning back to the aunt she was speaking to. The little girl’s heart fell, and she went to sit quietly on the stairs, trying to hold back tears. As she hugged her knees to her chest, it took all of my strength not to repeat the mistake Gramma had just made, and let my words tear a relationship apart.
“The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life, but violence overwhelms the mouth of the wicked.” Proverbs 10:11 (NIV)
Words can heal, or words can hurt. They can build up, or they can destroy. They can be a fountain of life, or they can kill a relationship. That day, as I watched the hope fade out of a 4 year old’s eyes, I realized that more acutely than ever. Little words, passing sentiments, can linger for years. Forever. Wounds that stab. Words that cut. They can be more dangerous than a double edged sword.
But, there’s another side. “The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life…” A fountain of life. Words can give life. They can be a healing balm. A cool drink, in the middle of the scorching desert. They can restore life to a dead relationship, and they can heal a broken heart. They are more precious than the finest jewels.
Words are powerful indeed. Think of it: The Holy Scripture, a book of words. Words put together in the right order, ordained by God, to show the world His love for us. Words, just words. Print on a page. But the most powerful piece of literature ever written. Words that change the course of civilization. Just words.
What are you teaching your daughter about words? Are you teaching her that they are a weapon, or priceless? Are you teaching her to wield them for her benefit, or to use them for the benefit of the world? Are you making a warrior, or a healer?
Father in heaven, You’ve told us over and over in your Scripture about our words being a fountain of life, or a weapon of destruction. I want my words to only be a fountain of life to my daughter, and I want her to carry them with her in her heart. I know that from the overflow of the heart, so speaks the mouth. Let my heart be pure, that I might show her Your love, Your grace, Your goodness, through my words. Let me always be a positive example to my daughter of grace, discretion, and wisdom, particularly through my words. And, dear Lord, let my daughter’s speech be always uplifting, bringing praise, honor, and glory to you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Kristi has been married to her Prince Charming since 2000. They are blessed with six children, including three daughters, ages 10, 2, and 2. The have recently moved to Nashville, TN, and are enjoying getting settled into urban life again. Kristi blogs about homeschooling, life, faith at The Potter’s Hand Academy.