Pastor's Piece - The Power of Loving Words
by Dr Barry Wright
Dr. Carl Menninger, the famous psychiatrist, once said that 'Love is the medicine for the healing of the world'. What a different world we would live in if love were the motivating force between people and nations!
Love, like life, is a gift from our wonderful creator. He created every human being with an innate capacity to give and receive love, and He planted within our hearts the need to love and be loved.
It has been commonly said that 'To be manifestly loved, to be openly admired, are human needs as basic as breathing.' If we accept this notion as real, then why is it that we often fail to express our love to others when we feel such a great need of it ourselves?
In John 13: 34 Jesus says that, 'A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another' (RSV).
This verse tells us that love is not simply an impulse, a transitory emotion, dependent on circumstances; it is a living principle, a permanent power. Therefore our affections for one another should spring from our common relationship with God. To love as Jesus loved means to manifest unselfishness at all times and in all places. By kind words and pleasant looks we are to lift the downtrodden and the discouraged to a higher plane.
Genuine love is a precious attribute of heavenly origin that tends to increase its fragrance in proportion to our dispensing of love to others.
The power of loving words and their influence for good cannot be estimated. They cost the giver nothing, but they leave behind a blessing of great value. Jesus continues His words in John 13: 35 where He says 'By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.' (KJV)
Like a plant, love must be fed and handled with care if it is to grow. Ephesians 4: 31,32 says we can do this by letting there '…be no more bitter resentment or anger, no more shouting or slander, and let there be no bad feeling of any kind among you. Be kind to each other, be compassionate. Be as ready to forgive others as God for Christ's sake has forgiven you' (Phillips).
While this is important for adults, we should never underestimate the power of words parents use with their children. Like adults, they need to hear that the people they love most value them as individuals. Your words will stay with your children their whole lives, and help determine, not only the kind of adults they will grow into, but also the kind of parents they will be to their own children.
Children who are told they are loved and accepted have a head start on their peers. They know that their parents' love is not conditional. They are free to take risks and fail.
We need to remember that every child is unique. They have their own personality and with that can make a unique contribution to the family. We should never label and compare, but show our children that we recognise and value the characteristics that set them apart from other members of the family.
Children want to feel good about themselves and so it is essential, in the words we use, to promote a positive self-esteem. They should know who they are and what their place in the world should be.
Children want to know that their parents love them so tell them often. Hug them, listen to them and share their successes.
Children need respect so trust them with responsibilities. Even the most rebellious children are often the ones who feel worthless. Be patient with their mistakes and allow them to be involved in the life of the family.
Remember that your words will stay with your children their whole lives, and help determine, not only the kind of adults they become, but also the kind of parents they will be to their own children.
God knew the power of loving words and recognised the need for us to become more like Him in word and deed if we are to make a difference in our world today.
We are reminded by the apostle Paul in Ephesians 4: 1,2 to 'Walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing forbearance to one another in love.'
Thank God today for the love He has planted in our hearts and for His power to forgive and forget. May we never forget the power of loving words and that love is the greatest medicine we can offer the world today.
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