“But the word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may observe it. “See, I have set before you today life and prosperity, and death and adversity; in that I command you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in His ways and to keep His commandments and His statutes and His judgments, that you may live and multiply, and that the LORD your God may bless you in the land where you are entering to possess it…” Deuteronomy 30:14-16 (NASB)
“I’ve had enough. I can’t take it anymore, Go to your room!” I shouted to my oldest child in a fit of rage. I noticed my fuse was getting a little short. But mounting bills, work demands and the sound of my son laughing and screaming in delight had sent me over the edge.
I tried to be careful to be encouraging with my words to my children, but the furrowed brow and look of sadness that overtook my son’s face said it all. I had, in one sentence, wounded him. And like a spilled tube of toothpaste, I couldn’t take those words back.
Like the above passage demonstrates, we have the power to speak life or death into others’ lives. As a mom, I have used my words to encourage others and also used them to cut, hurt and wound. If you are like me, you have difficulty forgiving yourself for saying those hurtful words in the first place.
But there’s hope.
You may not be able to magically erase damaging words, but you can mend the wounded relationship that comes as a result. Jesus, through his death on the cross, provides us an opportunity to redeem and mend the brokenness that results from damaging words.
Here are some things you can do to mend the brokenness of your relationship:
Exhibit humility- Begin by apologizing for your words. Ask forgiveness from your child. It not only teaches them parents make mistakes, too, but also helps them to extend and experience the gift of forgiveness.
Create a choose life jar- If you have difficulty controlling your tongue, create a visual reminder. Decorate an ordinary jar and write the words “choose life” for everyone to see. Every time you catch yourself saying something unkind to your child, or hearsiblingscalling each other bad names, place a quarter (or a dollar) into the jar. At the end of the month, make a point to use the money to benefit the family by donating it to charity. Go out to dinner to celebrate when you’ve noticed an improvement in the amount of kind words used.
Do some soul searching- Bad words come from a wounded soul, which can manifest as displaced anger. Journal your feelings and seek the Lord’s guidance. Ask the Lord to reveal to you the source of your anger. Are there unresolved hurts or wounds? Work to resolve them promptly so that you can replace your anger with peace and joy.
We all have the power to speak life or death into our children’s souls. With a little help, we can turn the brokenness damaging words cause into words that breathe life into others' lives.