Sunday, April 12, 2015

Choose Love Through Words

If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man,
and able also to bridle the whole body. - James 3:2

ultimate treasures are children
Dallin H. Oaks
Welcome to the fourth installment of the Choose Love Series! Please visit the first post to read 100 Simple Ways to Choose Love. We'll be using a few of those today.

In this world where there are so many ways to express ourselves, we must choose every day to build each other up or tear each other down. There really is no neutral ground. Our homes are ground zero for our emotions. It is hard to be nice - especially when we are frustrated, hurt, angry, bored, or feeling any other negative feeling. It takes a lot of self-control to choose love through our words. It is even more imperative to act this way toward our children.

They're Your Children!

When my husband and I first married, we were fortunate enough to go to church with a lot of families who had come to Brigham Young University from different countries in order to complete their educations. One Brazilian mother stood up on a Sunday to bear her testimony of an answer she received to a prayer. Her young children had been fighting, and she was at her wit's end. Instead of resorting to yelling herself, she went into her room and closed the door. She knelt in prayer, saying:

They're Your children! What do
You want me to do with them?

This has inspired me since I first heard it 16 years ago. She was able to calmly dispel the fight using her nice words instead of anything "corrupt" or with "bitterness." God wants us to treat each other well. We are His children. If we are to become perfect like Him, then we must use the appropriate language necessary to invite the Spirit of God into our homes. 

Jeffrey R. Holland once taught:
We must be so careful in speaking to a child. What we say or don’t say, how we say it and when is so very, very important in shaping a child’s view of himself or herself. But it is even more important in shaping that child’s faith in us and their faith in God. Be constructive in your comments to a child — always. Never tell them, even in whimsy, that they are fat or dumb or lazy or homely. You would never do that maliciously, but they remember and may struggle for years trying to forget — and to forgive. And try not to compare your children, even if you think you are skillful at it. You may say most positively that “Susan is pretty and Sandra is bright,” but all Susan will remember is that she isn’t bright and Sandra that she isn’t pretty. Praise each child individually for what that child is, and help him or her escape our culture’s obsession with comparing, competing, and never feeling we are “enough.”

When we speak in loving ways to our children, we teach them by example that they can speak lovingly to us. Believe me. I know how hard this can be. Our children constantly have bad examples at school, on TV, in music, etc.

A man I knew a few years ago taught in the local middle school. When he heard his son speaking in the kind of slang, pop-off way so many kids that age do, the father told his son he wasn't allowed to bring the middle school into their home. Our homes are sacred places where we are to act in ways as close to heaven as possible - and then, hopefully, take that out into the world to make it a better place.

I love what it says in Ephesians 4: 29-32.

Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.
And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.
Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:
And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.

Our Spouses

We can leave a lasting legacy of love for our children by how we speak to their parents - our husbands or wives. I'm saddened when I hear women belittling their husbands to other women, or worse, in front of their children. The same goes the other way when husbands are verbally abusive to their wives. What does that teach our children? Only that it's an appropriate way for them to speak to their future spouses. How terrible! 

Linda K. Burton put it so nicely when she said:

Sisters and brothers, how often do we intentionally “speak kind words to each other”?16
We might test ourselves by asking a few questions. With a little adaptation, these questions can apply to most of us, whether we are married or single, whatever our home situation might be.
  1. When was the last time I sincerely praised my companion, either alone or in the presence of our children?
  2. When was the last time I thanked, expressed love for, or earnestly pleaded in faith for him or her in prayer?
  3. When was the last time I stopped myself from saying something I knew could be hurtful?
  4. When was the last time I apologized and humbly asked for forgiveness—without adding the words “but if only you had” or “but if only you hadn’t”?
  5. When was the last time I chose to be happy rather than demanding to be “right”?
Kind words are truly endless Mother Teresa

With those inspired questions in mind, I'll take the Simple Ways from the original list that we can use to show love by using our nice words.

2. Sing a song. Make it a happy song! 
4. Read a story. Whenever I sit down with my children to read I automatically become calmer and feel more tenderly towards them.
5. Tell a child his/her birth story. My kids love being reminded of how they came to this earth!
6. Relate a nice story from your life. I'm not good at telling stories from my own life, but I love hearing about my parents.
9. Give a random compliment. The best kind of compliment for me is one that is totally unexpected.
15. Say "I love you." It can't be said enough, in my opinion!
35. Encourage someone's attempt. It's hard for a lot of people, myself included, to sustain momentum on a project without hearing some encouragement from another. 
56. Pray for someone so they can hear you. This is more powerful than words can describe. To use someone's name out loud in a petition to heaven brings a sense of peace and love that is hard to reproduce in another setting.
60. Speak with kindness.
69. Find something good about each family member each day. Even if you are angry with someone, this exercise can dissipate those feelings quickly.
74. Call someone a pet name you haven't used in years. The other day my husband used a pet name for me I hadn't heard in a while. It made me happier than I would have expected!
81. Whisper. God doesn't shout. He speaks in a "still, small voice." It makes us quiet ourselves to listen. I've used whispers to get rowdy children's attention before. It works wonders to make a room quiet!

I hope I've given you some ideas to work with and some quotes from inspired people to motivate you in your own lives to choose love. If you have anything to add, please comment! If you like what you've read, please re-share!

Want more from the Choose Love Series?

1. The goal that started it all:
Choose Love
2. 100 Simple Ways to Choose Love:

5. Choose Love Through Humor:


  1. What wonderful encouragement and inspiration you've shared here. I talk... chatter... a lot. Sometimes I'm not happy with the words I speak. You've inspired me to be more mindful and prayerful about the words I use and the way in which I speak them.

    Thank you!

    1. Thanks, Jennifer! I appreciate your encouraging words. :)

  2. What a good reminder to always speak carefully when I talk to my children. Today I said the house was a mess and they were being pigs, to which my daughter replied, "Pigs are smart!" Maybe I'll try a different method of getting my point across next time. Love Elder Holland's words.

  3. This is so inspirational! We can take good lesson from that Brazilian mother. Sometimes you need to step back, get some perspective, ask God for help, and recharge. I look forward to reading the other posts in your series! Have a lovely week!

    1. Thank you! I'm so glad you were inspired.

  4. EXCELLENT and well put post! We all need to watch our words to our family and even those we barely know. Thanks for the reminder and tips of how to do better. I featured you on my FB page. So glad you linked up to the Wonderful Wed. Blog Hop. Carrie, A Mother's Shadow

    1. Thanks, Carrie! Words carry so much weight!

  5. This is amazing and just what I needed to hear today. I have really been working on speaking to my children with patience and love instead of out of frustration, even when I feel overwhelmed. Thank you for the reminder.

    1. You are welcome, Miranda! I'm glad we're all on the same journey together.

  6. May we use our words to encourage, build up, edify and instruct one another, especially our children! Thanks for the lovely post! Linked up with you at Katherine's Corner -- hope you'll stop by Saved by Grace for a visit!
    God bless,

  7. Enjoy each day with your children...the time goes by too quickly! Thanks for an inspirational message on the Thursday Blog Hop!

    1. Yes! I can't believe how fast my older children have grown up. Thanks for commenting, Pam!

  8. Words are powerful weapons, tools. We must be very mindful how we use them. I pray we may use our words to edify our children that they may grow knowing how very valuable and precious they are. Thank you for this reminder.

    1. Thank you for adding to the discussion, Celi! You are exactly right.

  9. Such encouragement! I love the quote by Mother Teresa. It speaks volumes.
    Thanks for sharing on the Shine Blog Hop!

    1. I'm so glad you like it! Mother Teresa is such an inspiration to me.

  10. Thank you for sharing this at Good Morning Mondays, and thank you for the encouragement to speak kindly to each other and only in encouragement. Blessings

  11. This is such a good reminder and something I have to watch all the time. Easy to realize, hard to implement! Glad to have found you over on the Weekend Wind Down linky party. Thanks for sharing such encouraging thoughts!

    1. I'm glad you found me too! Thanks for your comment. :)

  12. Thank you for the time and effort to encourage. It is obvious you care about the true value of love.

  13. I'm so grateful you came away from the post with that feeling. Thanks for commenting!

  14. I can't agree with you more!
    Thanks for sharing with the Say G'day party! Pinned all and hope to see you on Saturday!

  15. I try so hard to always say the right thing and then am so hard on myself when I perhaps didn't say something as kind as I should. But growing, growing, growing. Fully aware, but hard to always catch myself! Thanks so much for linking up at MeetUp Monday, and hope to see you again next week!

  16. An inspiring post. Thanks for linking up and sharing with us at Funtastic Friday. Hope to see you again this week.