The renowned Oxford English Dictionary contains over 171,476 words with more words added every few months—words that are in current, active use by English speakers.
When it comes to the words we speak, which ones do we choose from this huge reservoir of choices? Which combinations of words will bring the most help, hope, and healing to those in need? To answer that question, let’s begin with the words God uses to bring encouragement to us. Let His words be the foundation for building your own vocabulary of words that really help.
True hope and healing are found in God’s Word. And when we fill our mind with Scripture through regular reading and memorization, we build a solid structure from which to encourage others. God’s promises become our first response to those in need of hopeful, healing words.
Words of Help
Most of us have found that the Christian life is filled with a lot of challenges, a lot of ups and downs. The New Testament is filled with verses reminding us that as Christians we will endure persecution and suffering, including 2 Timothy 3:12: “And all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.” But while we will experience suffering, God’s Word encourages us with the words that God is working all things for good for those who love Him and are called by Him (Romans 8:28). When others around us are going through a “down” period, we often share our own “down” stories with them. In fact, 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 tells us that God comforts us in our trials so that we can comfort others in their trials, but God’s Word should be at the foundation of what we share. And 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 is a good place to start—God’s strength is made perfect in our weakness. When we are weak, we are strong because of the power of Christ. But remember: There are times when others don’t need our words, they need our presence. In those moments, you can silently pray the words of Scripture for others while you sit with them in their pain or grief.
Words of Hope
Many in our world, including Christians, are anxious and discouraged. The unknowns of life are many, but God’s Word tells us that despite the unexpected, God is always with us. “The Lord your God is with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9). Not only that, but He will sustain us and give us rest (Psalm 55:22; Matthew 11:28-30). These words bring us peace and strength because we remember we are not alone. Telling a discouraged friend, “God is with you,” encourages them far more than saying, “You can do it!” or “Don’t worry about it.” The Creator of the universe will sustain them and be with them. What powerful words to share with others!
Words of Healing
At times we don’t know what to say to those who are grieving the loss of a loved one. Verses such as Psalm 23:4, “Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death…You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me,” bring reassurance to the hearts of the grieving. These words are more than words of sympathy. They are a reminder that the Good Shepherd will comfort them. And when the person who passed away is a Christian, there is a wonderful hope. First Thessalonians 4:13-14 says, “But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.” We will see our saved loved ones again in heaven! Next time a friend or family member is grieving, remember these words from Scripture, words which will bring them comfort.
True encouragement for all of life’s difficulties is found in God’s Word. And His Word should act as the infrastructure for the words we share with others. Immerse yourself in His Word so that your vocabulary fills with words which bring hope and encouragement to the world around you. As Proverbs 25:11 says, “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.”
Dr. Jeremiah is the founder and host of Turning Point for God and senior pastor of Shadow Mountain Community Church in El Cajon, California.For more information on Turning Point, go to www.DavidJeremiah.org.
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