A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver. Proverbs 25:11
A family sat around the table one Sunday enjoying their midday meal. The father, a pastor, related an encounter he had earlier that day with a parishioner…a man struggling with alcohol addiction. He was talking to his wife and certainly was not motivated by unkindness. Did this out-of-place word bring negative consequences? Indeed. The pastor’s daughter, a third grader, was listening. She knew the parishioner’s child who was in her class. Whatever possessed her the next day at school to tell her classmate that his father was an alcoholic?! Word got back to a church elder who reprimanded the pastor. He repented and attempted to make amends with the man he had offended with his careless words.
It’s ironic, isn’t it? We are so often frustrated when our kids don’t listen to us. Yet, at other times, they are carefully ‘tuned in’ and making judgment calls of their own from what they hear. Talk is cheap goes the old adage. But, we all know the results can often be very costly. The Bible teaches frequently about spoken words…their great value and their disastrous potential. Even as toothpaste, once out of the tube, can never be returned to its casing, so the words we speak can never really be taken back.
“These commandments…impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” (from Deut. 6)
Clearly Moses meant for God’s people to talk about their devotion to Jehovah. Clearly he sets the home and the everyday activities of the family as the context.
What does this mean for us today? Here is a check list for those who want to grow in their parenting skills to more closely reflect our Heavenly Father’s ways.
- We speak to our children about what God is doing in and for us day by day. Do we share examples from our own lives that illustrate how God works?
- We speak to our children reminding them of God’s work within our family life. Do we make time for sharing challenges and joys with everyone gathered together?
- We speak to our children words that affirm and reprove, depending on the situation. Do we pay attention and verbalize the truth in love – whether to praise or correct?
- We speak with pleasant or, at least, neutral tones, even when the conversation is behind closed doors between adults, and we control the urge to yell at our children. Do we express anger by a godly response and refuse to give way to arguing and other forms of verbal strife?
- We speak words to praise our Heavenly Father in regular times of family worship. Do our children hear our voices raised in worship; do we teach them to do the same?
Our words reveal what is in our thoughts, our hearts. May we treasure up the words of our Heavenly Parent and pass them on to our children…and theirs.
May the mind of Christ our Savior live in us from day to day,
by His love and power controlling all we do and say.
May the Word of God dwell richly in our hearts from hour to hour,
so that all may see we triumph only by His power.
May we run the race before us strong and brave to face the foe,
looking only unto Jesus as we onward go.
Katie B Wilkinson