Dr. Donald J. Ralston

Spoken Words

(Prov. 16:24; Matt. 12:37)

I. Do you remember that little rhyme we all learned as children, "Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never harm me"?

A. Those of us who are older know that words can hurt us

1. They can destroy a friendship and divide a marriage

2. Words have immense power to encourage us or to tear us down

3. Many people can remember their parents= praise though they have been gone for years

4. Others clearly remember condemning words uttered years ago

B. We shouldn't be surprised then that the Family Blessing hinges on the spoken word

1. Isaac spoke it to his son, Jacob spoke it to each of his twelve sons and two of his grandsons

2. In Scripture, a blessing must be spoken

I. Children need to hear encouraging words

A. If you are a parent, your children need to hear spoken words of praise from you

1. If you are married, your wife or your husband needs to hear words of love and acceptance

2. This week we all will rub shoulders with someone who needs a word of encouragement or praise

B. When God sent His son to communicate His love an plan of salvation, it was His word that became flesh and spoke it to us (John 1:14)

1. We can use our tongues to bless our children or to curse them - James 3:2,4-6

2. We can bless our children with this tongue or curse them with it

3. Perhaps you are still hurting over the names you were called as a child, "Hey stupid - you are the dumbest kid - you're not good - can't you do anything right?"

4. The list of names we call our children is almost endless

5. It is so easy to condemn their wrongs and yet neglect to praise them for this contribution

6. We need to tell our children how proud we are of them

7. Commend them for hard work or good grades. Praise them if they get a B and don't condemn them for not getting an A.

C. Spoken words of Blessing begin in the delivery room and should continue throughout our lives

1. It's no big deal, they know I love them without my having to say it

2. Try convincing the counselor or pastor who has to deal with the psychological ramifications that come from your silence

3. Silence does not communicate love and acceptance, it only causes mental confusion

4. I buy them the best clothes, give them their own room and sufficient spending money - isn't that enough?

5. No, it isn't enough - it is no substitute for the spoken word

II. What happens when we withhold words of Blessing?

A. Dr. Howard Hendricks tells of a couple he counseled

1. He asked the husband when was the last time you told your wife you loved her?

2. He glared at Dr. Hendricks and said, "I told my wife I loved her on our wedding day and it stands until I tell her different."

3. Take a guess at what was destroying their marriage

B. When a spoken blessing is withheld, unmet needs of security and acceptance eat away at the marriage like a moth

III. Why is it so hard to speak words of blessing?

A. If spoken words of love and acceptance are so important, why are they uttered so infrequently?

1. Some people say, "I don't want to inflate my child's ego."

2. Others say,

a. I work all day and she expects me to sit all night talking to her.

b. I just don't know what to say

c. My family know I love them without saying it

d. Telling children their good points is like putting on perfume, a little is okay but put on too much and it stinks. Most of us don't have to worry about putting on too much.

B. Real reason many people hesitate to bless their children with words of praise and acceptance is that their parents never blessed them

1. If you have never heard words of love and encouragement, it is a struggle to speak them to your loved one

2. It's not just talking more to your children, but the attaching words of high value to them

IV. Children need to do this for their parents

A. Charlie Ward, on being honored with the Heisman trophy, turned to his parents and said, "They are my role models, they are my heroes."

1. Teenagers, you need to bless your parents, if they have loved and cared for you, let them know what they mean to you

2. Young person, if you haven't turned out half bad, tell your folks that you have them to thank

B. Time passes so quickly - please don't allow your child to grow up without hearing your praise and encouragement

1. Don't allow that precious wife or husband to leave this world without having heard those spoken words of love and praise

2. Don't allow that child to leave home or go away to college without having heard spoken words of praise

3. Give them all the elements of blessing - meaningful touch and spoken words.