The Good Your Words Can Do

photo by Anders B.

photo by Anders B.

“Did you hear that she…?”

“Someone said that…”

“Well, rumor has it they…”

So often what follows those simple phrases are fill-in-the-blanks that have potential to wound. I’ve been thinking a lot about hearsay and as I turned that word over and over in my mind I realized it sounded a lot like another one: heresy.

Heresy is spreading what doesn’t line up with what God says is true.

Hearsay is spreading what doesn’t line up with what God says is true about another person.

They’re close cousins. One is about doctrine. The other is about God’s daughters. I think both break His heart.

Gossip, rumor, criticism, judgment. It’s so easy to get pulled into all of those. Before we even realize it our tongues have become swords and we slash our sisters then wonder why we feel unsafe in relationships.

Can we please stop, friends?

Actually, we can’t. “No one can tame the tongue,” said James {3:8}.

But here’s the good news: We don’t have to do it on our own. Jesus, the Word made flesh, lives within us and he can help us speak differently.

To encourage instead of criticize.

To cheer on instead of tear down.

To step forward with support instead of standing back in judgement.

My friend and fellow writer, Annie Downs, recently wrote a book called Speak Love. The foreword includes these wise words, “What we say isn’t just random words flying out of our mouths but the chance to either build someone up or completely tear someone down.” That sentence sounds a lot like this one: from Paul: “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen” (Eph. 4:29).

Before we speak we can ask…

* Is this going to build someone up or tear someone down?

* Does this help meet the needs of the person I’m talking to or about?

* Does it benefit those who are listening?

Most of all, we can ask Jesus to guide our words so that they are a source of life, healing and encouragement. We all struggle with this, ladies. It’s part of being human. And I think women are especially vulnerable–often with good intentions. So let’s help each other out too. Let’s commit not to speak or listen to what can wound each other. We can do so with grace, understanding and gentleness. But we must do it.



Let’s come up with a new word: Hersay.

It can be a synonym for encouragement–for words spoken from the heart that make our sisters feel safe, whether we are together or apart.

Are you with me, friends?




About Holley

About Holley

Wall Street Journal Bestselling Author and Life Coach

I like humans, words, and good coffee. And I’d love to help you beat what’s holding you back, become all you’re created to be, and kick butt for the greater good.

Cheering you on,


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