It’s the season of love and yet, our world is full of everything but good will at the moment. Considering all the conflict everywhere we look, you might be wondering how you and your family can make a difference. Scripture gives us several clear ways we can love others. Let’s start there!
This month, join me and my family in looking for ways to be an ambassador for Jesus by sharing love with our words.
We can start by adopting these simple habits:
Be an encourager.
Some people are natural born encouragers. Others have to work hard to remember to pay compliments. Whatever your tendency, make it a point to spread words of affirmation to your loved ones, coworkers, even strangers. I had a waitress the other day go on and on about how much she loved my haircut. She didn’t know I’d been second-guessing my choice for a style. Hearing her encouraging words made my day! And I was reminded that compliments are a powerful way to share love. Try to make it a habit to say one encouraging thing every day to someone you interact with. Start with your spouse, child, coworker or the girl checking you out at the grocery store.
Practice the lost art of written notes.
I love modern technology and the way it allows us to stay connected so easily. But it will never be as personal and beautiful as a hand-written note. Tuesday February 7th is National Send a Card to a Friend Day (who knew?!). This is the perfect opportunity to practice the lost art of social graces. This weekend, grab a card while you are out and about. Think about a friend or loved one you’d like to surprise with some good ol’ snail mail. Send your card on Tuesday and then make it a goal to send just one hand-written, personal note to someone you love every week (or even once a month would be a good start).
Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body. — Proverbs 16:24
Focus on the bright side.
There are a lot of ugly words flying around on social media right now and it’s easy to get caught up in the battles. But what if we made a commitment to be more careful, more intentional with our words? How would that change the verbal climate in our culture? How might that strengthen the world’s view of believers if we led the way in looking for and sharing the good, no matter what? We serve a redemptive God who cares more about these issues than we ever could. He calls us to be a light in the darkness. To spread His love with our words and deeds. When we put our trust in Him and focus on the bright side in the midst of tough times, we pierce the darkness with the light of his love. Try seeking out one good thing every day to share with others via social media or in a conversation over a meal. If that good thing is somehow related to the state of our culture, you get bonus points!
Speak the truth.
This one can often get us into trouble. All those passionate posts we’re reading are likely written by people who strongly believe they are sharing the truth. And maybe they are. But when there’s turmoil amongst people, everyone thinks they are the one standing on the truth. The Bible tells us to “speak the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15). It also tells us that Jesus is “the Way, the Truth and the Life” (John 14:6) and that “God is love” (1 John 4:8). The truth has become very relative in our culture. And on many issues, there are gray areas. When in doubt, I know the truth lies hidden in God. Instead of sharing our own version of it, we can point people to Jesus, trusting that he’ll show us the way forward.
The next time you feel passion rise up within you about a particular issue, instead of posting your opinion about it, share a verse in the Bible that has influenced your thoughts. When we share God’s truth in place of our own, our words are guided by love.
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer. — Psalm 19:14
Keep a quiet life.
One of the most powerful ways to share love with our words is to stay silent; to keep our words to ourselves. My mama told me, “If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” I need that reminder most days. The leaders and influencers I respect most are the ones that remain quiet. It’s not that they have nothing to say, but their actions speak louder than their words. 1 Thessalonians 4:11 says to “make it your ambition to lead a quiet life.” What if we shared love through the absence of our words? What if saying nothing at all was the best representation of Jesus we could be? If you are one to get vocal when passionate about an issue (I love people who stand for things!) try staying silent for a bit. Let your peace speak volumes of gentle love.
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Our words are powerful. In a time where we have the freedom to express whatever we want for the whole world to hear (or read), we have a responsibility to be Christ-like and careful. With love as our goal and our guide, we can spread the hope of Jesus through every word we share.
Two great books that will encourage you and your children to share love with your words are Speak Love by author Annie Downs and Brave Girls: Faithful Friends, a 90-day devotional that empowers young girls to build others up as they form and grow friendships.
What are some of your favorite ways to share love with intentional, grace-filled words?