Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Seven Things we Ought to Say to People

Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the bones.  –Proverbs 16:24

I recently wrote a blog post about things we should never say, and so today I bring you my list of what we ought to say at every opportunity.  Each day we encounter people who are probably hurting inside.  No one knows what is truly going on in someone else’s heart, but if your heart is anything like mine you are most likely burdened with all sorts of problems, stresses, and situations capable of producing a level of anxiety.  What a difference when someone speaks kind and gracious words to us in those moments we are down.  The right words, spoken at a time when we are discouraged, are like a healing balm to a troubled soul. 

Speaking words that help and encourage those around us is an intentional practice. We must be disciplined in our approach to how we relate to people.  In light of the negative words we often hear, the following is my list of what we ought to say at every opportunity.

1. Thank you.  These simple words carry great weight and go a long way toward expressing gratitude.  The words are applicable in countless situations ranging from being given a gift, assisted with a task, or told something helpful.

2. You’re welcome.  No doubt you have said, “Thank you,” to someone and the reply was, “No problem,” “Don’t mention it,” or “Don’t worry about it.”  These phrases carry the implication of gratitude, yet leave us feeling short changed.  It’s as if your expression of gratitude was unnecessary.  I know people rarely mean anything negative by such responses, yet an opportunity was missed.  Try sticking with the classic, “You’re welcome,” and see the difference it makes.

3. I appreciate you very much.  Here we distinguish between what someone did and the actual person.  Were it not for the person, what he or she did for us would never have happened.  The emphasis is on the individual rather than on what he or she did for us.  These words have the power to lift up people who are questioning their self-worth.

4. It’s going to be all right.  When going through a trying and difficult time, it often helps to be reminded that the problem, no matter how great, will one day be behind us.  This is always preferable to the negative and discouraging words we hear each day.

5. I hope all this works out for you.  Whenever a friend or loved one announces a plan that doesn’t make sense to us, such as I’m getting married, I’m moving to Nepal, or I’m changing careers, we do well to avoid a knee jerk reaction.  When someone drops a bombshell on us our first instinct is to jump up and say, “You’re going to do what?”  Sound advice, given at the proper time, is beneficial, but in the meantime a kind word of hope is always appreciated.  Letting someone know you hope everything works out well in the long run is usually well received.

6. I’m praying for you.  Having said this, be sure to then follow through with your promise to lift the person up to God in prayer.

7. Please let me know if there is anything I can do.  Never speak these words unless you are committed to being available when the person needs you.  You may have to take the person by the hand and follow this declaration up with, “I mean it; call me anytime if you need me.”  In time, someone may offer his or her help to you and you may  be the one reaching out in time of need.  Such care and kindness may mean life or death to someone.

I trust this is helpful.  Perhaps you are going through a hard time and need someone to pray for you.  I welcome an opportunity to do that.  As always, you may post a comment anonymously. 

God bless you – it’s going to be a great day.

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