When our children were young, my husband always knew how to get their attention. He would kneel to their level and in a quiet and gentle whisper, he would proceed with his words of correction and counsel.
They would both quickly calm down, listen carefully and then comprehend what he was trying to get across. This was a breakthrough to say in the least. For I had spent the last several minutes demanding their attention, by my highly raised voice, and getting little to no response from them both.
Scripture repeatedly instructs us to be careful with the tone of our words. It is not what we say; it’s how we say it that matters! Look at Proverbs 25:15 for example. We are told that patient and kind words can persuade leaders to change their mind and soft and gentle words can break the strongest resistance.
Word choices and tone can leave a lasting impression either favorably or unfavorably on another person. Look how tone makes a difference in these two verses.
A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare.—Proverbs 15:1 NLT
A soothing tongue [speaking words that build up and encourage] is a tree of life, But a pervasive tongue [speaking words that overwhelm and depress] crushes the spirit.—Proverbs 15:4 AMP
Jesus knew how to speak to people. His words had the ability to connect with an individual or a crowd of people and keep them engaged. He spoke with a gracious tone, and it affected how the people heard Him.
Everyone was impressed by how well Jesus spoke, in awe of the beautiful words of grace that came from his lips.—Luke 4:22 TPT
Have you ever found yourself having a conversation with someone and then realize a few minutes later the person isn’t listening anymore? They are no longer engaged in the conversation and seem distant and distracted.
In Ephesians 4:29 (TPT), we are encouraged to let your words become beautiful gifts that encourage others but if people aren’t listening, then how are we impacting lives?
For people to hear what we have to say, it matters how we say it. Peter wrote that we are to be ready to answer anyone who asks about our hope in Jesus and to do this in a gentle and respectful way (1 Peter 3:15-16) because it is not what we say; it’s how we say it that matters.
In a world full of outrage and anger over so many issues, let’s choose our words wisely. Let’s allow the Holy Spirit to produce a tone of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control in our words.
Let’s influence the world around us with words that bring life, healing and hope!