Our theme for this month: “Changing the tone of the conversation”
Our Bible verse for today: “The tongue that heals is a tree of life, but a devious tongue breaks the spirit.” Proverbs 15:4 (CSB)
Our thought for today: “Your words can help people grow.”
There is a well-proven truth about human development which clearly demonstrates that we have the power to speak into other peoples lives the things we want to be true of them. If you want something to be true of someone, begin speaking to them as if that thing is true of them. Whether it’s a character trait, a behavioral pattern, or a fundamental belief, you can help to form a person’s thoughts and conduct by speaking it into their life.
The thought-merchants in our society use this strategy all the time. The idea is that if you say something often enough, pretty soon people will begin to believe it must be true. They will then embrace it as truth and they will begin to behave accordingly. Advertisers use this technique too. That’s why you see so many commercials for a product or service, over and over again, forming your thoughts about it to the point that you agree with the commercial that you really do need to have this thing.
If the cultural elites can use the strategy so effectively to form the thoughts and alter the behavior of a society, and if advertisers can use it to market their products, surely we, the people of God, can use it in positive ways that bless people and help them to grow.
Church leaders can use it to help form the thinking and alter the behavior of a church. It starts with statements like, “We believe and embrace the truth of Acts 1:8 that we are to be on-mission with Jesus outside the walls of these church buildings. And just to prove it, next Sunday night we’re going to have our services at the Bread of Life Rescue Mission instead of here at the church building. We will also provide, cook, and serve the meal.” Afterwards you say, “See, I told you we were an Acts 1:8 people on mission with Jesus. Now let’s do it some more”. Then you keep talking about it, keep repeating it, keep building on it, and eventually you discover that the church is routinely doing things like that on a regular basis.
Parents can use this strategy to good effect with children. Tell him you know that he has it within himself to be a well-behaved little boy who gets good grades in school. Then take steps to help him achieve that. Then when he does, tell him you knew all along that it was true of him. Then help him to do more of it, repeating and reinforcing and complimenting all along the way.
As Proverbs 15:5 teaches, our words can help people or they can hurt people. Our words can be a source of encouragement that lifts them up and helps them grow, or they can tear a person down and hurt them. I encourage you to intentionally speak into people’s lives the good things that you want to be true of them.