"A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver." Proverbs 25:11 (NIV 1984)
I've been convicted about empty statements. These are words I say to make a conversation a little more comfortable in the moment. But do I really mean what I say?
Empty statements can also be little promises that give a needed lift to someone. Yet without a plan to actually keep that promise, do I really intend to keep it?
It's not that these statements are wrong, bad or ill-intentioned. But they are empty at best and potentially hurtful at worst. People in my life deserve better than that.
I want to be a woman who exemplifies God's Word by keeping my word.
The Bible is clear that our words matter; our words carry weight. Proverbs 25:11 says, "A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver." Our words can be gifts.
But if we speak words with no follow-through, they can be hurtful. It's like holding out a gift but refusing to give it.
Here are three empty statements I want to stop saying if I don't have a plan for follow-through:
1. I'm praying for you.
Obviously, I do want to pray for people. And sometimes when I say this, I have great follow-through. But other times I forget.
A great intention doesn't make for a great prayer.
So, I need to pray for that person right then and there, or I need to keep a journal in my purse to write down prayer requests.
2. Let's get together sometime.
Either I need to pull out my calendar and schedule time with someone or be honest about my current time constraints. The people-pleaser in me struggles with this.
When people say this to me without any follow-through, it hurts. While I can't change what others say to me, I can make a heart policy to not do this to others.
3. I'm good, how are you?
Understandably, sometimes this is the right, polite statement to say when I'm quickly greeting someone. But I will also say this to others with whom I really should be more open and honest.
I'm reluctant sometimes to let even close friends know needs bubbling below my "I'm good" statements.
If I will be braver to open up, it will give my friends permission to do the same.
So, there they are. My three empty statements and my convictions to do a better job of saying what I mean and meaning what I say.
Let's commit to being women who keep our word. Right now. Today. Not only will it strengthen our friendships but it will make our relationship with the Lord more authentic as we live out His Word.
Dear Lord, thank You for convicting me about using empty statements. My words can be powerful tools and I want to use them for Your purposes. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Reflect and Respond: Which one of the three empty statements resonates with you the most? (Keep a prayer journal in your purse, schedule a specific time to get together with someone or open up with how you're honestly feeling.)
This week, make it a point to put action into place when using that statement.
Power Verses: 1 John 3:18a, "My dear children, let's not just talk about love; let's practice real love." (MSG)
James 1:23-25, "Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it — not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it — they will be blessed in what they do." (NIV)
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Proverbs 31 Ministries 630 Team Rd., Suite 100 Matthews, NC 28105 www.Proverbs31.org