Kind words matter more than ever. Have you heard them?
It’s not hard to start the day badly: grumping first thing because the kids left the dirty breakfast bowls out; Scowling because … because the caffeine hasn’t hit home yet; ignoring someone who needs kindness, direction or just acknowledgment.
And so, the bad day builds. Soon everyone in the household is one tripwire away from an explosion. One unkind word has ricocheted around the house wounding people. And these wounds are carried into the day. And they rarely heal. They burn and bubble in the heart.
Words are very powerful. They can give life and they can destroy.
The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. (Proverbs 12:18)
We know that how we speak to each other really matters. Our mothers, if we had them, told us that. It is almost a cliché. But the cliché of kindness is vital right now. In the UK, British charity Samaritan is getting 7000 calls a day from anxious people. And, the US is aflame with hatred and anger. Australia might seem like a sanctuary in comparison but even here anxiety and anger have skyrocketed.
This is why kind words matter more than ever. Hard words in hard circumstances can be worse than illness. The human spirit can endure in sickness …
… but a crushed spirit who can bear? (Proverbs 18:14)
Physical suffering, though sometimes immense, is outside of us in a way that wounds to our heart and crushed hope are not.
Our words can crush people. But they can also heal people. The Bible puts it starkly.
The soothing tongue is a tree of life, but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit. (Proverbs 15:15)
Our speech is powerful. Very powerful. It can bear fruit for life. Our words can heal. Words of love and care. Word of concern. Words of understanding. Words of compassion. Words of forgiveness. Words of undeserved mercy. Simple kind words profoundly matter.
Our words can heal. Words of love and care. Word of concern. Words of understanding. Words of compassion. Words of forgiveness. Words of undeserved mercy. Simple kind words profoundly matter.
Let’s say them.
Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up. (Proverbs 12:25)
But also let’s hear them.
In Luke’s eyewitness account a woman comes to Jesus. She is very likely a prostitute. She invades a dinner party without shame and her hair loose. And while he dines, she washes his feet with her tears and dries them with her hair. Jesus responds with four kind words, “Your sins are forgiven.”
Did you hear those words? They are healing. They are life. And, they aren’t empty words. In a short time, Jesus would die for that woman’s sin. All of it. Whatever it was she had done over and over again. Whatever it was she had failed to do over and over again. He would pay her debt to God with his body and soul.
Did you hear those words offered to you? And to me? I need them. I’ve spoken words that are hard, cruel and even crushing. And I’m ashamed of them. But, once those words are out I can’t unsay them. I can’t take them back. Even if I never utter them again they have already wounded. And sadly, I’ll probably speak unkind words again.
Which is why I need Jesus’ kind words for me. “Your sins are forgiven.”
First published at risenchurch.org.au