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Celebrate Recovery

Words Hurt or Heal—It’s My Choice

By Bob Newby, CR West Regional Director

Words are exceptionally powerful. Since I desire to find healing for myself and others, I want to give thought to my words so that I do not later regret what I’ve said.

Take a look at these Scriptures about our words:

  • “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Proverbs 15:1 ESV).
  • “The tongue of the wise commends knowledge, but the mouths of fools pour out folly” (Proverbs 15:2 ESV).
  • “A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit” (Proverbs 15:4 ESV).
  • “The lips [words] of the wise spread knowledge; not so the hearts of fools” (Proverbs 15:7 ESV).
  • “Whoever gives thought to the word will discover good” (Proverbs 16:20 ESV).
  • “Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body” (Proverbs 16:24 ESV).

As I pondered these verses, I thought about three audiences for my words. The first audience for my words is myself. What is my self-talk? Are my words to myself soft or harsh? Do I speak life to myself, or do I break my spirit? Do I use words that are gracious? I want to take responsibility to speak wisely to myself, so that with the help of Jesus, I am encouraging myself to become the best version of Bob Newby.

The second audience for my words is God. Do I only talk to God when I need something? Do I simply verbally dump all my challenges on God, viewing my relationship with him as if he were my own personal cosmic genie? Do I speak words of praise and gratitude to God? Do I think about my prayers? Sometimes I write out my prayers, which helps me think about what I am saying to Jesus, the lover of my soul.

The third audience for my words is everyone else. While I want to have self-control over my words, it often is not enough. I need to go deeper and focus on my emotional well-being. When I am doing well emotionally, my words are kinder, softer, and more honest. What is inside of me will spill out in words to others. That is why it is really important for me to nurture, encourage, and fill my soul with truth, Scriptures, and positive thoughts.

As Celebrate Recovery® leaders, let’s use our words to help us move forward, first in our own recovery journey, and then use our words to encourage others in their growth.

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