Our words have a great influence on the lives of our children, but we are not always aware of this reality. More times than we care to admit, we hurt and destroy our children with the way we talk to them. We can interact with them with hurtful words or destroy their character with demeaning words. We can also generate guilt, for example, when we continually point out how badly they have done.
At all times our words can take different directions and the book of Proverbs refers to this reality:
Like golden apples in silver settings
It is the word spoken in due time (Pr 25:11).
The tongue of the righteous is choice silver,
But the hearts of the wicked are little things.
The lips of the righteous feed many,
But fools die for lack of understanding (Prov 10:20-21).
Wisdom flows from the mouth of the righteous,
But the wicked tongue will be cut off.
The lips of the just make known what is pleasant,
But the mouth of the wicked, the wicked (Pr 10: 31-32).
We need to remember that our words are an important part of what is shaping the hearts and character of our children.
The way that we talk to our children it can feed or crush, be full of wisdom or foolishness, make known the pleasant or be bitter words. We need to remember that our words are an important part of what is shaping our children's hearts and characters. Our words towards them will impact the way our children see life and themselves.
words that destroy
It is worth asking ourselves why we decided to take the path of destruction with our words. After prayerfully pondering this and recalling my own experience of sinning against my children, I came to the conclusion that there are at least two reasons why we speak badly to our children.
1. We believe that by being responsible for them, we can talk to them however we want.
Everything that exists belongs to the Lord, our lives are His, and that is also true of our children. We are responsible for them, but ultimately they are God's creatures and therefore belong to him.
That we are mothers does not give us the right to crush our children with our words. Let us remember that every time we speak ungraciously to them we are offending the One who owns them, as Jesus said: "Truly I tell you that as soon as they did it to one of these My brothers, even to the smallest, they did it to Me" (Matt 25:40).
2. We forget that our words reflect the condition of our hearts.
The problem is never the problem. Our words are the evidence of something deeper in our hearts.
It is not enough to acknowledge our deep heart sin: we must run to Jesus to find His timely help.
Perhaps the problem is that we have a misguided sense of self-righteousness: we see ourselves as better than our children and think we need to "make them pay" for their actions. Perhaps we have an anger problem: we get angry very easily and explode with words that destroy. We may have a problem of lack of love.
But it is not enough to recognize our deep sin of the heart: after examining our hearts in the light of the gospel, we must run to Jesus to find His timely help.
words that give life
A few days ago I was helping my children with their school assignments. If it happens to you like me, those moments can vary between being a total disaster and being a fluid time in which we finish fast and animated.
On this particular day, one of my sons was "studying" for a test, but I could see that he was only looking at the pages. It didn't surprise me that, when he told me that he was ready, he got many of the answers wrong. Every time this happened, I felt a fire growing inside me (not exactly a holy fire). My words became harsh and inclined to anger, instead of encouragement. There came a time when I was very upset, because I asked questions and my son kept making mistakes. Then my other son intervened and said to his brother: "Come on, you can do it, I know you can do it." To my shame, I recognized that this attitude was what I should have had from the beginning, as a mother and a follower of Jesus.
Our job is to speak to our children words that give life, that point them to their sins, but that help them see Jesus who forgives and saves them.
Don't get me wrong, the fact that our words are full of grace and encouragement does not imply that there is no correction. discipline our children it is completely necessary, but still it can be done with words that destroy or with words that impart grace. As the Bible says: "Death and life are in the power of the tongue, / And those who love it will eat its fruit" (Pr 18:21).
Part of our work as mothers, out of love for our Lord and for our children, is to speak words that give life, that bring security, that encourage them to seek the best, that point them to their sins, but also help them see the great Jesus who forgives and saves.
Let's learn from Jesus
In Jesus Christ we have the example of One who did not open His mouth to curse those who hurt Him, because His words were continually full of grace and truth. In Him we not only have an example, but we find the grace we need to live in the same way. Furthermore, only in Christ do we find forgiveness and restoration. when we have done it wrong.
May the Lord help us so that our words can be a source of life for our children.