What comes to mind when you think of a “life-giving” fountain”? In my mind’s eye, I see a fountain overflowing with cool, clean water. The water coming from this “life-giving” fountain sustains and refreshes me as I drink from it. It is never ending, quenches my thirst and gives me what I need for life…water.
Proverbs 10:11 (NIV) states…” The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life, but violence overwhelms the mouth of the wicked.” Words that are “a fountain of life”, are words that build up, give confidence and courage. They are words that are needed for a healthy life.
Think about how words have affected you. Perhaps a teacher told you that you learn slower than the other students, your parent screamed at you and used harsh words because you forgot to do something, or a friend started a hurtful rumor about you and said, “It was all in fun.” These are hurtful and harmful words.
Now, think about how you feel when you are told how special you are and that you are doing a great job or when your boss tells you that you are a valuable member of the team. These are uplifting words that give you confidence. They are words from “a life-giving fountain.”
Proverbs 10:19 (NIV) tells us, “When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise.” There are times when parents need to refrain from saying anything. In fact, a few well-chosen words, stated at the right time, are much more effective than a truck load of words dumped on your child.
Proverbs also speaks about the lips being a way to transfer wisdom from one life to another. A parent who has wisdom can transfer that wisdom to her child. This transfer happens when a child hears parents repeatedly speak words that encourage, build up and increase confidence. Needless to say, this child will develop the same “life-giving” vocabulary.
How does one know what words are “a life-giving fountain” and how does one get wisdom? Wisdom comes from studying God’s word…the Bible. The Bible teaches us how to encourage our children the correct way, how to speak quality, “life-giving-words” to our children. It teaches us how to “Parent on Purpose”.
"The tongue of the righteous is choice silver, but the heart of the wicked is of little value. The lips of the righteous nourish many, but fools die for lack of judgment." Proverbs 10:20-21 NIV
What you say, as well as how you say it and can hurt or hinder. Is it no wonder then that James compares the tongue to a fire that destroys?
“…the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and creatures of the sea are being tamed and have been tamed by man, but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison."
(James 3:5-8 NIV)
Your tongue is a powerful tool and its power must not be underestimated. “The tongue has the power of life and death…” (Proverbs 18:21 NIV).
The words of a witness can free or imprison a man, a rumor can ruin a person’s reputation, and the words of a teacher can destroy a student’s confidence. Likewise, the words you speak to your child can have positive or negative effects on his life.
Unfortunately, the people we love the most, those closest to us, are often the last to get encouragement or hear words from the “life-giving fountain”. All too often, in the heat of the moment, we say things to our children, that cannot be erased. We say things that can destroy, hurt, or even create hateful and humiliating feelings that may never be forgotten.
Are you guilty of using hurtful, harmful words to your child? If so, unfortunately you can’t change yesterday but you can make a new start tomorrow…start encouraging your child…start using nothing but “life-giving words.” Start now to…
Is your home one that encourages or is it filled with sarcasm and put-downs? Remember, “The tongue has the power of life and death…” (Proverbs 18:21 NIV). Speak encouraging, “life-giving” words to your child and you will be parenting on purpose…parenting God’s way!