The words left my mouth and I immediately wished they wouldn’t have. Hurt flickered in the eyes of my son. He dropped his head in defeat. I had aimed a weapon, struck the target, and regretted my success all within the span of a moment.
We want to believe words don’t carry the weight they do. It’s easier to let ourselves off the hook for the impact we have on other people. The reality is that words have creative power, able to build or destroy. They give hope, crush dreams, instill safety, release fear, stir faith, or create pain. There is unlimited potential in our mouth for either good or evil.
While we tend to focus on our own hearts and what they need, it is vital for us to realize that God has given us a responsibility to care for other people’s hearts. We have a role to play in helping each other experience grace, love, and fulfillment from living out God’s plan for our lives.
Here are 7 methods of communication that can help strengthen the hearts around you:
Our words should be both beautiful and valuable. They can find good in someone and draw it out to be put on display. It takes a few extra minutes to discover something praiseworthy in someone’s life but the impact can be life-changing.
"You are so good at making other people believe they can accomplish big things. You inspire me."
"I love how you change the atmosphere when you walk in the room. Your smile brightens everyone’s day."
It’s easy to focus on the negative and only see the things that need to get better. When we take time to notice things we are thankful for in another person, it communicates their value to us. Appreciation is one of the best ways we care for someone’s heart.
"Thank you for doing the dishes. I appreciate you taking the time to help out."
"Thanks for shoveling the snow off the driveway. You take such great care of us."
We assume the people we love know how much they mean to us. When we use our words to communicate our affection it strengthens the relationship we share with someone. God provides us a great example of this as He tells us over and over again how much He loves us.
"I’m so glad you’re in my life. If I could choose from all the people in the world, I would pick you to do life with. You make my world a better place!"
There is no such thing as meaningless words. We are creating the world we will live in by what we say. Sometimes our relationships require us to say no (parents, we feel your pain) but we can find ways to do it while also affirming and building people up
"You are getting so much better at math. I’ve been noticing the hard work you’ve been putting in and it is really paying off. I’m proud of you!"
People should feel safe around us. Our words shouldn’t be vile or harsh but reflective of the life-giving way God communicates to us. It’s easy to repeat the negativity we hear all around us. Being kind takes intentionality and self-control but it creates a space where others can thrive.
"Yeah, I heard that rumor but I think we should give them the benefit of doubt. We would want someone to believe the best about us if we were in their shoes."
Truth in Love
If we ignore the truth, we start to live in a fantasy. It’s important for us to be real and authentic. Jesus modeled a life and ministry that was full of both grace and truth. Following His example is being honest in a loving way.
Truth without Grace is mean.
Grace without Truth is meaningless.
Grace and Truth is medicine.
When we invite God into our communication it changes everything. He is a master at ministering to our hearts and the hearts of the people we love. Stopping to pray can make all the difference in the world.
"Father, help me love this person the way you love them. I feel hurt by their actions but don’t let that keep me from interacting with them in a way that honors You. Give me the right words and attitude in this situation."
Take a few of these communication methods and be purposeful about applying them to your conversations. I think you'll start noticing a difference in the lives of the people around you.