By Jennifer Heeren, Crosswalk.com
Kind words are like honey – sweet to the soul and healthy for the body. Proverbs 16:24
So many people need comfort in this dark and lonely world. Social media and the internet attempt to connect us, but still loneliness and isolation may become a pandemic that affects all of us in some way. Either you’re desperately lonely, or you know someone who is. Loneliness isn’t just when you’re physically alone. It also can be felt during a very busy social calendar of events. You may have contacts with people but still feel very alone. We often hear “Hi” and “How are you?” but how often do we hear “Come sit down. I want to hear what’s really been going on with you.” We crave meaningful connections with others.
We’re slowly coming out of this COVID-19 pandemic, but this problem of loneliness may last much longer. There’s no vaccine for loneliness. Or is there?
There is a friend who sticks closer than a brother and will never forsake us. Disciples of Christ aren’t called His “workers” or His “minions.” No, we are called His friends (John 15:15) and His children (Romans 8:14). And that kind of love can quench and cover any loneliness that we may feel.
Then, because God first loved us, we can go out and show that love to other people, thereby lessening the feelings of loneliness in the world even more. God’s love sets us apart so we can clothe ourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience (Colossians 3:12). God comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort those in similar troubles with the comfort we received from God (2 Corinthians 1:3-4).
What Does it Mean to Speak Life?
God speaks life to us in the Bible. Ephesians 1 is a great example of that. It assures us that God has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ. Even before He made the world, God loved us and chose us. He adopted us into His own family. He purchased our freedom with the blood of His Son and forgave our sins. He showers His kindness on us, along with His wisdom and understanding. We have the same mighty power within us that raised Christ from the dead. Once we were dead in our sins and disobedience, but God, in His mercy, loved us and gave us new life, as well as hope and a peace that passes all understanding.
Yes, God speaks much life to us in His Word so we, in turn, should speak life to other people. We get to live as children of light in a dark world. To do this, we must throw off our old sinful nature (our former way of living) and let God’s Spirit renew our thoughts and attitudes. We get to imitate God’s nature which brings light and life to all who pay attention to it.
5 Ways to Speak Life into a Broken and Hurting World
1. Fight Anger and Forgive Often
Don’t let anger control you. Anger isn’t bad in itself but when it controls your behavior, it leaves much destruction in its wake. Listen to others and forgive whenever possible instead of lashing out in your anger. Lashing out only makes you feel better in the moment, for an instant, but it inevitably brings much regret. Forgiveness doesn’t bring future regrets. Even when you forgive someone who wasn’t sorry for what they did, it still helps you. It helps you to move forward knowing that God will deal with the other person as needed. Offering forgiveness speaks life into the world.
2. Live with Purpose by Encouraging Others
The main purpose in life is to love God and love others. Let everything you say be good and helpful. Your words should encourage more than they put down. It is a gift of God to be reconciled through Christ and along with that gift comes the task of also reconciling people to God (2 Corinthians 5:18). We do this by speaking of His wonderful works as often as we can. The Good News speaks life into the world.
3. Rid Yourself of All Bitterness
Bitterness causes us to think only of ourselves. Continually check yourself to root out all forms of bitterness. Anger, jealousy, envy, or self-pity never lead anywhere good. In fact, they usually lead to a place where sin can seem inevitable and even necessary. You need to nip bitterness in the bud because it casts a dark shadow on any good you attempt to speak or do. Bitterness negates our ability to speak life into the world.
4. Encourage Others Often
Our tongues can contain words full of both death and life. Use the life-filled ones most often. Encouraging others will shine a gentle light on their circumstances and maybe give them a different point of view. Be tenderhearted and show kindness as much as possible because you don’t know the turmoil that they may be going through. Wise people help others to heal instead of inflicting more injury. Encouragement can be gentle and kind words when they are hurting. It can also be guidance when they are doing something wrong. It’s not always positive but it’s always for their good. Encouragement speaks life and healing into the world.
5. Point Them to God
Above all, our encouragement should point people to God as their Savior and their ultimate hope. Life is hard and the best encouragement is that God is with you when you pass through turbulent troubles. He will not let your worries overwhelm you because He is with you. He will never leave you nor forsake you. He will bring you rest when you are overwhelmed. He loves you. Jesus came to bring Good News to the poor. He was sent to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, and the oppressed will be set free (Luke 4:18-19). Jesus speaks life into the world.
How Speaking Life Can Impact Those Around You
Speaking life to people can instill hope in them. They may have been told their whole life that it’s just not possible to do such-in-such but some encouragement from you sparks them to try. They could be on the brink of a divorce but something you say ignites both the husband and the wife to fall in love again. A young girl is scared because she got a positive test, but a pregnancy resource center gives her the help she needs to choose life for her baby and herself. A plate of cookies delivered to a neighbor can lead to an afternoon of conversation and companionship with someone who lives alone. Finding out why people think like they do instead of arguing with them brings a friendship instead of a fight. Yes, encouraging words can do a lot for others.
A famous spoken message by Florence Littauer can be heard here. It is based on Ephesians 4:29 which encourages us to let everything we say be good and helpful, and an encouragement to those that hear them. Our words should build others up. They should be like little silver boxes with a bow on top.
Imagine the things you could do if you were encouraged by another. Then seek to give that type of encouragement to others and build them up.
Photo Credit: Unsplash/kanereinholdtsen
Jennifer Heeren loves to write and wants to live in such a way that people are encouraged by her writing and her attitude. She loves to write devotional articles and stories that bring people hope and encouragement. Her cup is always at least half-full, even when circumstances aren’t ideal. She regularly contributes to Crosswalk. Her debut novel is available on Amazon. She lives near Atlanta, Georgia with her husband. Visit her at her website and/or on Facebook.