I discovered that Benjamin Franklin had started on a journey when he was 20 years old to master thirteen virtues. In order to achieve his goal, he developed a system to track his growth. I was intrigued by the idea and decided to follow his system in my own life.
This week I have been working towards mastering the second virtue he listed which is as follows: “Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself, avoid trifling conversation.” Actually, this is something I have been aware of in my life, but focusing on it this week reminded me just how significant it is.
In Proverbs, we are told that the words we speak actually have the power of life or death. I believe this is completely accurate and have seen it at work in my own life.
Think about your life and how it builds you up when someone takes a moment to show you appreciation or pass some words of encouragement your way. It leaves you feeling inspired, uplifted, and encouraged. In contrast, think about when someone speaks negatively towards you. How does that make you feel?
I know that it is easy to forget about how powerful our words are, especially when we get caught up in the daily routines of our lives. Maybe there’s a coworker that continues to frustrate you, or a spouse that upsets you, or a child that doesn’t listen to you. At this point, you find it hard to say anything positive to them.
Now think about yourself. Maybe you are that frustrating coworker or spouse. How different might your reaction be if those people who are frustrated with you took time to speak words of encouragement instead of always speaking words of negativity?
The Bible tells us, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” I think if we all took this advice, not only would our workplace and homes be more enjoyable, but the world would be a much better place to live.
Let me encourage you today to think about the words you choose to speak. Are you speaking life or death into the people who are around you? You have the power to build others up with words of life or tear others down with words of death.
Sometimes it takes a little longer to think of a way to address a situation with words of life, but the results are well worth the effort. I hope that you will choose to speak life!