Skip to main content


Packaging Your Words
By Victoria Osteen - Dec 07, 2010
God created the heavens and the earth; He spoke them into existence. Scripture tells us that the same power of life and death is in our tongues, too. We are made in His image, and our words have creative power.

I like to think of it this way: We are all artists with our words, and we paint on the canvas of people's hearts by what we speak, good or bad. That's why we need to be careful to use our words wisely as a skillful artist would, creating a positive, encouraging masterpiece in the hearts of our family members, friends and coworkers. A beautiful work of art isn't created merely by choosing the right paint colors; it's created by the technique the artist uses. In the same way, we have to be careful how we communicate to the people around us.

Years ago, I learned this lesson the hard way when I was trying to encourage our son, Jonathan, to practice his guitar. I was driving the kids home from school one day and thinking about all the loose ends I'd left dangling on that particular afternoon. You might say I was feeling a bit stressed, and I let that stress come right through my words when I sharply asked, "Jonathan, have you practiced your guitar at all this week?"

Before he could answer, I continued, "You know, if you don't practice your guitar now, you'll be sorry down the road when you want to play in the band at church and you're not good enough." On and on I went, trying to "encourage" my eleven-year-old son to practice his guitar with enthusiasm and passion, and yet I could see his countenance deflating and becoming more discouraged by the minute. All at once, I started listening to my own words; they really weren't encouraging or inspiring at all. In fact, they were negative and depressing. I realized that I was painting a negative picture on the canvas of his heart.

Immediately, I stopped myself and said, "Jonathan, I'm sorry. I realize I wasn't very encouraging just now. Will you forgive me?"

I looked at him in the rearview mirror, and he just smiled at me so sweetly. Right then, I decided to use my words to paint a picture of inspiration not condemnation. I said, "Jonathan, you are so talented musically. That's why I want you to practice because I know the more you practice, the better you'll become." I repackaged my words and changed my voice from the voice of discouragement and defeat to the voice of encouragement and victory.

Just like anything else, it will take practice to become a skillful "painter" with your words, but you can do it! Even when you have to bring correction or instruction, you can position your words so they will be more easily received. Just like the old saying "a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down," when you speak words of affirmation along with the correction, it's much more palatable.

When we realize the impact of our words, we'll seize every opportunity to paint positive images on our loved ones' hearts. We'll look for chances to say, "I'm behind you. I'm supporting you. I'm with you every step of the way." Whether you are a boss working with an employee or a parent working with a child, the goal should always be to help others reach a higher level. Don't allow harsh words to cut the canvas you are working on! Instead, "sweeten" your delivery and be the voice of victory to the people you love.

…My tongue is the pen of a skillful writer (Psalm 45:1, NIV).
Join the Conversation