The parables of society are in conflict with what God says about our words, though. Consider the following Scripture:
"The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences." (Proverbs 18:21, NLT)
Wow. The tongue has the power to bring life or death? That's a pretty strong statement. Why would the tongue have such power?
I believe that God made us in His own image (Genesis 1:26). How did God bring things into being? He spoke. I believe He gave us the same creative power (or at least the same potential)! Our words can literally affect the spiritual fabric surrounding us and other people, and we can change the course of events simply by what we say!
When we criticize someone -- when we tell them how horrible they are, how horribly they're doing, how horrible of a failure they are -- or when we project a dim future for someone with our words, we are literally painting the setting for them to live those words out. By saying hurtful or derogatory words to someone, we are literally speaking death over them. How terrible! What if, instead, we were to speak encouragement to that person? What if we were to speak over them God's vision for their lives? What if we were to, with our words, lift them to a higher calling? What if we were to speak words of life over someone? How powerful!
For me, it was a strong temptation to generalize from a few bad happenings to a trend of how things would go from that point onward. For example, if my son had woken up in the middle of the night for several weeks in a row, I would be tempted to declare in frustration, "He always wakes up in the middle of the night!" Why would I declare such a negative prophecy over my household? Instead, I could say, "He'll grow out of this phase. It's only temporary. He will have sweet and peaceful dreams in the name of Jesus." How much different of a feeling does that leave! Some people may say that this sort of phraseology is overly optimistic and not grounded in reality. I say that this sort of optimism directs the course of reality!
Doesn't it seem that pessimistic individuals get annoyed whenever they encounter someone who is optimistic? Optimism is often classified as fanciful, or wishful thinking. Pessimism is often labeled as the "rational" or "realistic" stance. I'd like to give a different definition. Pessimism is focusing on and empowering the negative facts of our lives. Optimism is blessing the negative situations in life so that they will turn around for the good. I hypothesize that pessimists are annoyed with optimism because misery enjoys company, and optimism makes an intrusive and offensive entrance, declaring that there is a way to escape misery! If we are connected to the true source of LIFE, Jesus, then we are no longer slaves to misery. We can be filled with joy despite our circumstances, for this is the fruit of the Spirit.
I encourage you to think of ways you can be a blessing to someone today. Is there someone that you have been criticizing lately? Perhaps send them a word of encouragement and affirmation. Have you been estranging yourself from friends or family because you don't agree with the direction their life is headed or the choices they are making? Perhaps bless them in your prayers and release them to accomplish all the purposes that God has for them. Have you been dwelling on a negative doctor's report about your health? Perhaps speak blessing over your body, reminding yourself that God personally designed and created your body to be well. It may seem at first that these words are foreign and overly optimistic, but you will see your life turning around for the better as you sow words of life and blessing into your life and the lives of others.
May God bless you as you follow His heart in blessing others! :-)