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  • Shawn Thornton

Grateful for the Right Words

Wednesday - October 13th

Scripture to Read Today: Ephesians 4:25-32

Don't use foul or abusive language.

Let everything you say be good and helpful,

so that your words will be an encouragement

to those who hear them.

Ephesians 4:29 NLT


Negative words dominate the words we use as human beings - not just as Americans. Studies have found half (that's 50%) of all the words that people produce from their working vocabulary to express emotion are negative. Thirty percent (30%) are positive. Twenty percent (20%) are neutral.


Studies of 37 different languages turned up seven words with very similar meanings across all of those languages. They are joy, fear, anger, sadness, disgust, shame, and guilt. Seven words and only one is positive - joy.


Words are important. Words have power. Proverbs 18:21 says it plainly: "The tongue has the power of life and death." Most of us can think of times when someone said something to us, and their words cut deeply into our innermost being. We also know the blessing and encouragement words can bring when they act as a healing salve to our deepest wounds.


Over the years, God has blessed me with notes, letters, emails, and social media posts from others that have lifted my spirits at just the right time. Of course, friends and family who use kind words to me add to the blessing of my life. Who doesn't appreciate a well-timed and well-spoken word!


If you are anything like me, you know the difference a kind word can make on a bad day. Of course, most of us could receive one hundred words of affirmation and one complaint or criticism, and we hold onto and ruminate over that one critical comment. That seems to be human nature. We not only speak more negative words, but we hear and harbor more negative words from others.


Ephesians 4:29 says that we are not to “use foul or abusive language." The verse goes on to explain that our words should "Be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them." Our hearts long for words of affirmation when life overwhelms us. Think about it, if our own hearts long to hear an encouraging word, those around us long to hear kind things said to them too.


Thank God for any encouragement you receive today. And, go out of your way to say uplifting words to others!

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