Words that HealSue Afutu
Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the bones. Proverbs 16:24
Words are a way in which we communicate our thoughts, feelings and desires to others. Some people are naturally more outspoken than others. Some have a sing song voice with a melodious ring, others speak in gruff or hoarse tones. But whether you are a glib chatterer or someone who speaks sparingly there’s a word of caution for us all.
In Proverbs 16:24, we are advised that we should let our words be pleasant when we speak. The reason for this advice is given in the same verse; because pleasant words are sweet to the soul and health to the bones. The converse of this would also hold.
What this means, therefore, is that when we spew out negativity, we are infusing ourselves and our listeners with a dosage that can actually make us and them ill. It has been found that negative attitudes and feelings of helplessness and hopelessness can create chronic stress, which upsets the body’s hormone balance, depletes the brain chemicals required for happiness, and damages the immune system. Chronic stress can actually decrease our lifespan. (Science has now identified that stress shortens our telomeres, the “end caps” of our DNA strands, which causes us to age more quickly). Poorly managed or repressed anger (hostility) is also related to a slew of health conditions, such as hypertension (high blood pressure), cardiovascular disease, digestive disorders and infection.
However, when we speak pleasantly we are not only giving out information but also infusing our listeners with goodness and health.
The content of our speech is so cardinal, especially for us as Christians that we are reminded that if ever we are asked to give a reason for the faith we profess we should do so with respect (1 Peter 3:15). James also reminds us that we cannot curse and bless with the same mouth because a spring cannot send forth fresh water and bitter water from the same opening (James 3:11).
So today the question is: How well are you doing in this area? Personally, I need to often remind myself of these words. The good news is that the grace of God is available to all of us to help us improve if only we would reach out to God for help in this area. Therefore let’s watch what we say and bless others with our words.