If you can’t say nothin’ nice

Words. One of our essential forms of communication. We use them so much and so often that I fear we forget their power. Did you know that each word you say has the power to transform your life? To speak life or death into yourself or someone else? Proverbs puts it to us this way….

Proverb18Death and life. Which one are you speaking?

To be honest with you, when I did a little self-evaluating I didn’t like my results. I only had to look back as far as this morning during our daily rush to get ready and out the door.

“You guys are driving me absolutely nuts. You never just do what I say.”

The frustrated venting of a tired and frazzled mama that I didn’t think much else about after I said it, but what did I just speak into those little boy’s souls? What an opportunity I missed that morning! Instead of letting my frustration boil over, I could have used that moment to speak life into their tender hearts. I could have complemented my older boy on the fact that he went and got a long sleeve shirt without me asking because it was cold or told my smaller son that he was doing a great job at trying to put his own socks and shoes on (a big deal for a 2 year old!). But I didn’t. I failed.

Should I beat my self up about it and lament for all of time over how I feel like a terrible mother? No. I do, however, need to realize my shortcomings and allow the Holy Spirit to help me align myself with what His word says about my words.

What exactly does God’s word say about the words we speak and how is it applicable to my life?

There are NUMEROUS parts of the Bible that address our words and how we should speak with one another. Here are a few below:

words you useWe can see from the verses listed above that we are to be careful with our words. Also we see that if we notice a problem with our words we can most assuredly connect it to a heart problem. Before you read any further, take a moment and reflect on how your speech aligns with God’s word.

I’m going to take a moment and be completely transparent with you guys. I am the one who needs to read and take this blog post to heart the most! I struggle so much with the words that I speak. I have spent many nights in tears and praying for God to just make me better where I don’t mess up any more. I’ve come to realize that isn’t His way. He doesn’t just want to slap a Band-Aid on me where my speech is perfect so I can be proud of how “good” I am. He wants to work on my heart and fixing heart issues take time. I realized that the times I am most prone to speak “death” instead of “life” to others is when I’m inconvenienced. I then proceed to talk about just how inconvenienced I am and have no problem telling the person who is doing it. My second biggest area of speaking “death” instead of “life” is to myself. I firmly believe that I am not the only one in this area. So let’s divide the rest of this into 2 different sections. Take your time and really try to focus. I know it’s long, but it’s worth it! Do each section at a different time if you must!

Words We Speak To Others


Think about how other’s words have an effect on you. Does it brighten your day when someone compliments your style? Does it give you a boost of confidence when someone praises your abilities or your character? How does it affect you when someone is harsh or only tells you what you have done wrong? How does it feel when someone treats you as insignificant or inconvenient? Do you feel built up or torn down?

As Christians we are supposed to build each other up and encourage each other. In both of the verses seen above, Paul is talking about how we are to supposed to build each other up–its  not presented as an option if you are just having a great day. It also says that we are supposed to speak according to the need of the moment so that we can give grace to those who hear. Grace doesn’t rub someone’s mistake in their face. Grace doesn’t tear someone down and only point out their shortcomings—whether it be to their face or behind their back! Grace doesn’t lash out because it feels inconvenienced. Next time you are speaking to others, take note if your words are building up or tearing down. Remember,  our words come from the heart and not the actions of others! (SO , SO hard for me to swallow that one, ya’ll!)

Words We Speak To Ourselves

I am my biggest critic and my own worst enemy. Can anyone else relate? I have let my self-talk become so negative that it feels awkward to say something nice about myself. “I can’t” and “I’m not” and found generously throughout my vocabulary.

Now that we know that our words have the power of life and death [maybe not physically, but spiritually, mentally, and emotionally YES!], I have a question..

Are you keeping your self alive and vibrant or are you killing yourself?

Do you speak so negatively to and about yourself that your spirit man is dead? If so, YOU have the power to change that. Remember that just as our words have the power of death, they also have the power of life. Start speaking life into yourself today. If you can’t think of one single thing, then pray to God that He would begin a work in you for you to see all of the things He loves about you. Let His love work in you and you will begin to love yourself.

Here is a personal example I have:

Recently, I noticed I was becoming increasingly dissatisfied with my job. I was beginning to lose the love and passion I once had for it. I always speak to my mother or my husband while I’m walking to my car and on my way home. She or he always asks how my day was and I would always answer either “It was ok.” or “Awful.” One evening I resolved to change that. If my day was good I would say, “It was a good day.” If not, I would simply say, “It was rough.” I was acknowledging my bad days but not using such negative words about it and actually giving my good days credit too. There were 2 benefits I noticed: 1. I started looking at my day and focusing on the positives and realizing that I really did have a good day. My joy of working in the NICU has come back again! 2. My family didn’t have to listen to all of the negativity and complaints about things and people that I shouldn’t have let steal my joy in the first place.

I encourage you to start with something small in your life and speak something positive OUT LOUD about it. For example, you could say “Today is going to be a good sday.” or ” I can do (insert thing here).” or how about “My God is with me and I can do all things through Him!” Begin to speak life over yourself and you will be surprised how it spills over into other areas of your life.

How Can I Change The Way I Talk?

3 verses

1. Do a heart check.

Jesus told us we speak what is in our hearts. Pray for God to show you areas in your heart that you need to work on. For example: My destructive words towards people when I feel inconvenienced is due to my selfishness and impatience.

2. Pray for the Holy Spirit to change you from the inside out.

Allow Him to work on your heart and mind to change stubborn views and feelings that keep you from allowing grace to flow freely from your speech. For example: Is it hard to speak with grace to certain people due to unforgiveness in your heart?

3. READ, READ, READ God’s Word.

God’s word is what we use as the standard measure of Holiness to strive towards. How can we know what we need to work on to align our self to God’s standard when we don’t know what that standard is? Set a goal to read your Bible for 5-10 minutes everyday and then grow from there!

4. Memorize and speak scriptures over yourself and others.

I cannot stress how important this is and how powerful it is as well. When you begin to speak God’s words and His promises into your life, a deep work begins down in your spirit. Things that you once struggled with begin to break off and you start acting and speaking more and more like His word says! A new boldness and confidence in Him begins. Your prayer life begins to be transformed. TRY it! It may feel awkward at first, but the more you do it the less awkward it will feel. Here are a few practical ways you can do this.

” I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Phillipians 4:13

To Yourself: Simply say this verse out loud.                                                                                 To Others: If you see someone struggling and they confide in you, something to the effect of “Remember that you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you. I am praying that you will feel His strength with you during this time.”

“How precious are your thoughts of me, O God! How vast is the sum of them!”               Psalm 139:17

To Yourself: Say this verse out loud.                                                                                                   To Others: “Did you know that it says that God’s thoughts of you are precious and the sum of them is vast?” Or write them a note with this verse with a personalized note about how God hasn’t forgotten about them.

5. Find a few friends and challenge each other to do a “Speak Life Challenge.”

Put Paul’s words to action! Encourage and build each other up. Help each other to find areas in  life where you need to speak more positive and encouraging words.

Keep up with each others progress through group text or meeting in person. Send each other thoughtful verses or uplifting quotes.

What Do You Think?

What are some barriers that may keep you from doing these steps? Do you have any more ideas to change how we speak to each other? Do you struggle with negative speech? How has God worked in this area of your life? I would love to hear about it! Comment below or email me! Share this posts with your friends! Lets start encouraging each other the way God’s word tells us to!

In Christ,


8 thoughts on “If you can’t say nothin’ nice

  1. This was so good and full of so many great truths!! I really enjoyed it even if it did prick my conscience…repeatedly!! You truly have a gift girl!! Keep allowing Him to use you for His glory!


    • Thank you! I was convicted myself the entire time. There were numerous “O Lord, please forgive me.”‘s said while writing this post out!


  2. Marinda, what a blessing! I appreciate your transparency and honesty. It’s not easy to admit where we are falling short, in our day to day lives. I can relate to so much of what you’ve written here. I reprimand my children for speaking words of death, but find myself doing the same thing in the next sentence! It could be easy to be discouraged and accept failure as a mother, but that’s not what God wants either. I love how you brought this full circle, and gave some wonderful tips for combating the negative words that we speak. Thanks for sharing! I’ll be pinning to to a few of my boards today. 🙂


    • Thank you so much for your kind words. I always want it to be abundantly clear that I am writing more to myself than anyone else. God works so much in me as He is working through me!

      Liked by 1 person

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