Sometimes, the time we say something is just as important as the things we say. In other words, we can say the right thing at the wrong time.
When my children were young, I had my times of sharing untimely words. Oftentimes, the things I said to them as words of correction were right, but the time at which I said them was not. And I am sure all of us have been guilty at one time or another of saying things at the worst time.
Never underestimate the power of your words. Used correctly, they can make a real difference in the lives of the people you meet each day. "Anxiety in man's heart weighs it down: but a good word makes it glad, the Bible says (Proverbs 12:25, NASB). This means that when a person is loaded down with the cares of life, timely words from our mouth can lift his spirit.
We can see the power of this verse at work during the public ministry of Jesus. As He went from place to place, multitudes thronged Him to hear His Words. Of course, what He said didn’t immediately change the situations that burdened their hearts. Rather, His words had the power to change their perspective or focus, and when mixed with their faith in God, they were encouraged in the Lord.
I am learning more and more about the power of timely words. In this article, I am sharing words. As a preacher, I stand before audiences regularly and share words. To be and to remain relevant, I must be able to share words that my readers and listeners need to hear for the times in which they are living.
Consequently, I often pray and I depend on the Lord to regularly supply me with what to share through preaching and writing. And sometimes after I have preached a sermon, someone will come up to me and say, “That’s just what I needed to hear.”
Choose Words That Give Life
In our world, there is no shortage of critical or untimely words. Some people may say "sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me." But that is so far from the truth. Some people have been scarred or wounded for a lifetime by the wrong words spoken.
Consider the woman who was verbally abused in a previous marriage. Her ex-husband never laid a hand on her, but he might as well had done so given the damage of his constant barrage of abusive words. Even years later, she is still haunted by that verbal baggage as she strives to move on with her life.
"Death and life are in the power of the tongue...," the Bible tells us (Proverbs 18:21). It is completely within our power to minister words of life or words of death. Death denotes untimely, negative, hurtful or abusive words.
As Jesus’ disciples, let us follow His lead. Very soon, perhaps today, but definitely very soon, God will cause someone to cross your path bearing a heavy heart. Don’t underestimate the power of the right words spoken at the right time.
Frank King is pastor of the English-speaking congregation at the Hinesville Korean Full Gospel Church, 758 Tupelo Trail, Hinesville, GA, 31313.