How many words does it take to make a point? Chances are by the time you’ve reached this point in your day, you’ve already been told what to expect from the weather. “Wear your jacket, take your umbrella, and you might need your sunglasses at times.” The newscaster revealed all that happened through the night, covering the globe from unrest in the Middle East to the heroic rescue of people from a burning apartment complex. Music infused ads entice us to shop early for those Black Friday deals that now start before the calendar even turns to Friday. Textbooks, email, Internet sites, online magazines … how many words does it take to make a point? How about one? “Stop!” That’s a pretty clear message. “Thank you!” Two words we should use often.
So what’s my point? It’s not in the number of words, it’s in the message we convey. As leaders, as parents, as students, as employees, we are caught in a mesh of words from the moment we awake to the time we sleep at night. How do we communicate our message? When the topic is all about reward and life is good, our words exude kindness. But what if the situation is less than optimistic and shrouded in disappointment? When we are called upon to evaluate, correct, or even reprimand; how is our conversation then? In all circumstances, do we choose our words wisely? Do we seek to speak only the truth and with the mindset that’s honorable and builds trust?
Daily, we are subjected to opportunity to make a difference just through the words we choose to convey our message. When faced with a choice, how do we react? This word test has been around for decades. I know, because I learned it decades ago. Could we apply this test to our words today?
- Is it true?
- Is it necessary?
- Is it encouraging?
If the conversation we are about to have fails in any of those points, Stop!
Psalm 19:14 Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in the sight of God who is my strength and redeemer.
Let our words be full of life. John 6:63 The Spirit gives life; the words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit and life.
Are our words beautiful? Proverbs 25:11 Words spoken with the right motives and from a heart of love are like apples of gold in pictures of silver.