When You Need to Keep Kind Words Unspoken

Your mother told you to be nice; so you practice speaking kind words. But are there times when you should leave them unspoken? Find out here...

Lessons from childhood are hard to shake aren’t they?  We are taught to be “nice” little girls and boys.  But last week I was reading in Proverbs 15 when I was struck by some words that caused me to say, “Hmmm . . .”

Your mother told you to be nice; so you practice speaking kind words. But are there times when you should leave them unspoken? Find out here...

Do you ever do that?  Do you ever say, “Hmmm . . .” when you read something in Scripture that really catches your attention? I looked this verse up in a few more versions of the Bible and even with slightly different wording, I was struck . . . with conviction!

The first part of the verse is obvious right?   Truthful and encouraging words from the heart are healing, life giving and empowering.  The second part of the verse however, spoke to me in a brand new way.

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Unlike a deep Bible study, my daily Bible reading is simply reading through the Word asking God to show me what He has for me that day.  When something grabs my attention I mark it  and ask the Lord why He’s highlighted that particular portion of Scripture for me and how He wants to speak to me.  Today I’m giving you a glimpse into what God showed me from my own Bible reading because I think that, just maybe, it will speak to some of you as well.

When I read the second half of this verse, “a deceitful word breaks the spirit,” this is what I wrote down in my journal:

Insincere words spoken to make another person feel better actually have a negative effect. Click To Tweet

Why?  How could that be?  What could be wrong with a few good words spoken to someone who needs them?  What’s wrong with making someone feel better about themselves?  They are JUST words aren’t they?

Before I answer that I have a confession to make:  I am an encourager and promoter of people by nature but sometimes, when I’m feeling awkward and can’t think of anything to say, my awkwardness causes silly words to jump right out of my mouth!  Speaking without thinking.  I dislike insincerity intensely but as I read that verse I could actually think of a time or two that I blurted out a compliment that wasn’t from the heart, wasn’t true, in my attempt to make someone feel good about themselves.

Leadbetter State Park 025

Hear this!  Words have life!  Life began with God’s spoken word.  Scripture tells us that life and death are in the power of the tongue so the words we speak to others have a huge impact on them.  False compliments can give wings to bad ideas, causing people to pursue paths they shouldn’t, or waste time on areas they really have no gifting for.  False words may keep people from changing something in their lives that they need to change, and even miss out on the real purpose that God has for them.

False words can keep people from God's real purpose. Click To Tweet

The exact opposite is true of sincere words of affirmation which water the seeds that God has planted in a person’s life and helps to cultivate God’s plans.

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The Bible is filled with verses about being careful with our words, and for good reason! We can speak life or we can speak death. We can help set in motion God’s plans or encourage things that aren’t meant to be.

Dear Lord, Please keep a guard over the door of our mouths and help us to be slow to speak.  You tell us to stir up and encourage one another, so may the kind words we speak be true, life giving, from the heart, and always led by your Spirit.  


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  1. Mary Dolan Flaherty says:

    Patti, this is very eye-opening for me. I’m also an encourager–sometimes to a fault. I do the very same thing as you–find something to say that might not be true. I never really thought of those insincere words as having a negative effect on another. Thanks for sharing your personal prayer moment with us.
    Mary Dolan Flaherty recently posted…My Great Cloud of WitnessesMy Profile

    • Patti Krank says:

      Thank you for commenting on this post and admitting that you’ve done the same thing! It is a bit embarrassing to admit to being insincere just to make another feel good. Lord, please place a guard over our mouths and let our words be true.
      Blessings Mary!

  2. Michele Morin says:

    Such excellent truth, Patti! I feel as if I’m looking over our shoulder as we study the Word together. I was impressed as I read with the importance of these words in dealing with our children. We want them to feel good about their abilities, but we certainly don’t want to mislead them into following a path that will take them no where because it is not in line with the gifts God has given them. Our insincere words do have a negative impact, don’t they?
    Michele Morin recently posted…Remarkable Things SpokenMy Profile

    • Patti Krank says:

      It is so funny that you mentioned Southern manners because I am new to the South and recently did a post on Southern Etiquette. You are right about the Bible going against some of those manners for sure! Blessings to you Debbie.

  3. Peggy says:

    I am an encourager and this is deeply convicting. I have been thinking about Matt 12:36 where it says we will have to account for our idle words. So now we are not just hurting another person but ourselves also. You have given me some things to ponder on. Bless you.

  4. Sally says:

    This was a thought provoking post! Thanks for taking the time to write it. It certainly hit home for mr. I enjoy your blog.

  5. Bill Grandi says:

    you have shared some good thoughts Patti. I am a Sanguine and unfortunately one of the qualities is “open mouth insert foot.” As I have gotten older, I have to learn to do what you write about: learn restraint. It will always be a battle but it is well worth it when something positive comes as a result of not opening my mouth so quickly.
    Bill Grandi recently posted…HindsightMy Profile

    • Patti Krank says:

      Haha! I can relate to the “open mouth insert foot” quality Bill. I used to be incredibly shy but when the Lord broke down that wall I started making up for all the years of silence . What a reward to know how powerful a kind word spoken in truth can be in a person’s life. Battling right along with you my friend 🙂
      Patti Krank recently posted…When You Need to Keep Kind Words UnspokenMy Profile

  6. Robin says:

    That was an eye opener, for sure! Thank you!!! I am sure we ALL have done that and not realized what we were doing was actually NOT a good thing.

  7. Cheryl Ann says:

    Hi Patti…love this message and boy does it apply to me…especially with texting. I feel I have to text back something and it just doesn’t work well. Especially when I’m in a hurry. Thanks for the reminder!

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