Proverbs 16:20 He who heeds the word wisely will find good, And whoever trusts in the LORD, happy is he. 21 The wise in heart will be called prudent, And sweetness of the lips increases learning. 22 Understanding is a wellspring of life to him who has it. But the correction of fools is folly. 23 The heart of the wise teaches his mouth, And adds learning to his lips. 24 Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, Sweetness to the soul and health to the bones. 25 There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death. 26 The person who labors, labors for himself, For his hungry mouth drives him on. 27 An ungodly man digs up evil, And it is on his lips like a burning fire. 28 A perverse man sows strife, And a whisperer separates the best of friends.
Two students at a University decided to lift the students’ spirits on campus. They did this by holding up a large sign that said, “Free Compliments” on an always crowded walkway. They did this for 2 hours every Wednesday. When someone would walk by, they would say nice things to them like, “I like your red coat,” or “Those are some cool looking snow boots,” or “What a beautiful smile.” Some students would walk by these guys every Wednesday to hear a kind word.
Imagine how you would feel if someone complimented you for free. You would probably feel happy, appreciated, and confident. Imagine how you would feel if someone insulted or gossiped about you. You would probably feel angry, hurt, and insecure. That is the power of words. They can make or break someone’s day.
According to a study by the University of California, Los Angeles, positive words can activate the reward centers in our brains and release dopamine, a hormone that makes us feel good. On the other hand, negative words can trigger the amygdala, a part of the brain responsible for fear and anxiety. So, these two young men set out to encourage people by pointing out good things instead of trying to find fault with them or be critical of them. Is this not how we should be as Christians? Sometimes, Christians want to see the bad instead of the good in people, but it should not be that way.
As verse 27 says:
27 An ungodly man digs up evil, And it is on his lips like a burning fire.
Instead of burning people down without words, we should take to heart verses 23 and 24:
23 The heart of the wise teaches his mouth, And adds learning to his lips. 24 Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, Sweetness to the soul and health to the bones.
Kind words may be free, but they give a priceless lift to the spirit. So, let us do our best to encourage someone today and for the rest of our lives because our kind words will make a difference and glorify our Father in heaven.
A man named Fitzhugh wrote:
The power in words can build up or tear down –
Create a big smile or produce a sad frown;
So, in all your contacts with people each day,
Be sure to encourage in all that you say.
Article adapted from David McCasland.