If you are familiar with the book “The Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman; you will know that one of the love languages is “Words of affirmation.” The book also list quality time, physical touch, gifts, and acts of service as languages that demonstrate love. We all have a love language. The focus of the book is to teach us to identify our love language AND identify your family and friends love language. We have to learn to love people in their love language. If we love them in our language, it will not be meaningful.
I never realized the power behind the spoken word until I entered a community that uses statements often like: “I believe in you”, “I’m proud of you”, “You inspire me.” Flattery? Manipulation? I honestly do not think so. I feel genuinely cared for and celebrated. We all thrive when we feel loved.
The bible tells us that their is power in the spoken word. II Thes. 2:17 says to encourage one another in word. Proverbs 12:18 says the word of the wise brings healing. And Proverbs 18:21 and 15:4 says the tongue has death or life in it and a soothing tongue is a tree of life. Proverbs 12:25 says that anxiety weighs down the heart but a kind word cheers it up. As a counselor, I have empathy and compassion for my counselee’s. It comes easy to me to affirm them, encourage them and lead them. But when it comes to my personal relationships, I struggle. It may be because I grew up around a lot of criticism. I don’t believe words of affirmation come easily. I believe it is a learned skill. And by the way, when is the last time you spoke to yourself in a kind manner? We need to encourage ourselves also.
Listen to what the bible says if you give words of affirmation. Proverbs 15:23 says, “A person finds joy in giving an apt reply and how good is a timely word. A man takes joy at giving an answer and a timely word.”
How do you use your words? As we have discussed before, words always follow thoughts. The scriptures tell us to take every thought captive. Why? Because obviously we are capable of having some stinking thinking. This verse means we are in charge of what our minds dwell on. We can’t speak forth positive words to ourselves or others if our minds are constantly negative. Listen to Phil 4:8 which says, “Finally, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy, meditate on these things. Do you know what will follow those thoughts? Encouraging words and a happy countenance.
God gives us page after page of positive truths about HIS love and faithfulness in His word. He tells us WHO we are and to WHOM we belong. These words are not casually spoken but actual promises. Does this mean that we will never have pain or problems? No. Life hurts and is hard sometimes. But oh the power of an encouraging word; especially, in those seasons! During the holiday season so many people are discouraged and hurting. The absolute best Christmas gift you can give a person is the gift of encouraging words, hope and genuine concern. Jesus said that they will know we are HIS disciples by our love. If you are that person that is hurting; you can actually give yourself the gift of speaking encouraging words OUT LOUD to yourself. There is power in the spoken word. Love yourself through your words! OF course, the first place we want to express our frustration is to our Heavenly Father. Cry out to Him and ask Him to help you see HIS hand and HIS provision in your circumstances. Let your community know you are hurting. Yes, that is hard; but many times people are so distracted they do not see the pain in others.
Look for places for Jesus to extend encouraging words to others through you this Christmas season. It will be so much fun!