Overcoming the Curse of WordsSpeaking Life
Leslie Basham: It’s funny, but in the rush to meet our family’s basic needs, we can be tempted to neglect a deeper need. Here’s Nancy Leigh DeMoss.
Nancy Leigh DeMoss: You may be giving your husband, your children basic things like meals and clothes, and you bless your family in those ways. But are you neglecting something that could be a precious, priceless gift? That’s looking for everyday ways and opportunities to invest words of blessing.
Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Friday, February 28.
When you are in the middle of making dinner and the phone is ringing and the clothes dryer just finished its cycle, I bet you don't feel like saying thoughtful words to the child who’s pulling on your leg. But maybe the child is ready to listen. Here's Nancy Leigh DeMoss, continuing in a series called “Overcoming the Curse of Words.”
Nancy: We talked in the last session about resolving to speak blessing into the lives of others; and there's something very, very powerful about speaking words of blessing into the lives of your children, your mate, your friends, fellow church members, your pastor, your coworkers. When we speak, there's power in those words.
We’ve talked a lot this week about the power of cursing and how many of our lives have been wounded and discouraged, how some of us spent years trying to overcome the negative power of words as others have spoken words of cursing into our lives.
We've been talking about how to break the power of cursing in our lives, and one way we do that is by breaking that cycle and turning around and speaking blessing into the lives of others.
We talked yesterday about one of the patriarchs, Jacob, who had twelve sons and some of them were really rascals. Some of them were not worthy of being in the line of Christ and of the great nation that God had raised up to be the Jewish people. But when Jacob went to die, he spoke words of blessing suitable to each of his children.
The Scripture tells us in Hebrews chapter 11, that great chapter of faith, when it comes to Isaac and Jacob. Hebrews 11 is talking about all these great feats that people did, and how they stopped mouths of lions. Different people did these great feats. When it talks about Isaac and his son Jacob, you know what the Scripture highlights as the demonstration of this man being a great man of faith?
Listen to what Hebrews 11 says, verse 20: “By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau in regard to their future.” That was his feat. That is what he’s known for in the Hall of Faith in Hebrews chapter 11.
It’s no small thing when you bless your children in regard to their future. He ended up getting a whole verse in Scripture for doing that. You can’t imagine the transforming power. Jacob was a man who needed that blessing and even Esau, who was a wicked man, a godless man, was a recipient of a blessing.
By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau, and it may take faith for you to give a blessing to some of your children who are not so obviously ones who deserve a blessing.
One of the translations says of this verse, “Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau in regard to their future.” The English Standard Version says, “Isaac invoked future blessings on Jacob and Esau.” With words he prayed and asked God to bring—that’s invoking. He invoked future blessings on his children by words spoken before his death.
And then by speaking those words of blessing to Jacob, his son, he gave Jacob something to pass on to his children for their future.
That’s the way it is supposed to be because the next verse says, “By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of Joseph’s sons and worshiped as he leaned on top of his staff.”
It takes faith. It’s an act of worship to bless your children. Resolve to do it. Your children need that. You need it, and you will overcome the power of cursing that has taken place in your life as you resolve to speak words of blessing to others.
There’s a transforming power in blessing, much as there’s a transforming power in cursing. I look at family relationships, many that I know today, and I see such breakdown of the family unit and men who aren’t being men, who aren’t providing for their families and who are being vulgar and vain.
I see women who are being immoral, and they’re in the church. So where does all this come from? Well, we can never excuse our behavior by what has been said to us, but I wonder how much of the way people are living is that they are living out things that have been said to them. The curse of words.
I wonder how different their lives might be had they been under the blessing of words, words of blessing.
I have a friend who grew up in a Christian home and in a church; but she made some very wrong choices as a teenager, some very immoral choices. She had an abortion as a high school student and continued to make wrong choices through her college years and ended up with an eating disorder and just a lot of issues in her life.
Well, God began to work in her life when she was in her early twenties and began to bring her to faith in Christ. She really did come to know Christ in a personal way, and God began the process of sanctifying her, remaking her life.
She wrote and shared with me recently that one of the biggest blessings in her life took place when her now husband proposed to her. In their courtship she had finally told him about her past, which she felt it was important to do, for him to know because he didn't have that kind of past.
He had a very pure and protected past, and she felt it was important that he know the truth about her background. She had not known the Lord for very long at this point. She had been walking with the Lord for about a year, and there were a lot of issues getting dealt with in her life, but she still had a lot of baggage to deal with. And then she said,
The most powerful blessing I received in my life came from my husband and continues to come from my husband. When we got engaged, I’d been saved for a little over a year and was deeply feeling the depth of my past moral failures, and seeing the impurity still in my heart and mind, even though my behavior had changed. When my husband asked me to marry him, he quoted Proverbs 31:10: “Who can find a virtuous woman, for her price is far above rubies.”
She was blown away by this. It amazed her that her husband would focus on what God was doing in her life, the grace of God that was transforming her and making her a virtuous woman because she didn’t think of herself yet as a virtuous woman. She was still pretty overwhelmed by all those unvirtuous choices that she had made. But she said,
This guy focused on what the grace of God was doing in my life and not on what I had done apart from Christ. I was shocked that where I saw shame and failure, he saw virtue. He saw how God was rebuilding and turning ashes to beauty. Now that life seems a million miles away most of the time. I took that first step away from that life when [she names him] he spoke that blessing of scripture into my life.
By faith, Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau in regard to their future. By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of Joseph's sons. They gave a blessing by faith, saying, “Yes, you’re not all that God wants you to be now, but by faith, here’s how I see you in Christ.”
I love that verse in 2 Corinthians chapter 5 where it talks about how we are all new creatures in Christ. And then Paul goes on to say, “Therefore, from now on we know no men as he is in the flesh, but we know them as they are in Christ” (v. 16 paraphrased).
There’s a powerful principle there. If you just look at your children, your mate, your friends, people that are in the process of sanctification, and you look at them as they are apart from Christ, you won't be motivated to speak words of blessing to them.
But if you see them as God does through Christ, and as what they could be, would be, and will be in Christ, then you can speak words of blessing to them.
Let me encourage you to look for everyday opportunities to speak words of blessing into the lives of those around you, to be intentional about doing this. Don’t leave this place and forget what you just heard.
James says, “If you hear the Scripture and then you go away—it shows you like a mirror what is going on in your life—and then you go away and forget what you heard, you're deceiving yourself, your religion isn't true” ( see 1:22–26).
God’s been speaking to us about speaking words of blessing. Now ask God to show you in everyday opportunities, and you’ll have some today, to speak words of blessing, to speak well of others to their face and about others when you speak to others about them.
I have a friend who is a builder, a contractor, actually the man who built my house. He came to know Christ while he was building that house, and he and his wife have become dear friends.
One day he was at my house, and he brought his lunch with him. He pulled out a note. I have it in my hand, actually. And I said, “What’s that?”
And he said, “This is from my wife,” who has also become a dear friend of mine. And he read it to me.
I asked if I could have a copy of it. I can’t even remember now why I asked him, but I came across it in a file recently. It says, “Terry,” which is his name, “you are the light of my life; you are also the love of my life. May you have patience and be gentle today. Love, Susan.”
I talked to this couple last night on the phone, and I told them I had come across this note. It had reminded me of the importance of communicating blessing just as an everyday way of life.
And Terry said to me, “You know, Susan does that almost every day for me, for years.” He said that last week his wife had surgery, and she wasn’t able to do it last week, to send those notes, and he said, “I missed those notes so much.”
And I said, “Terry, tell me what those notes mean to you as a husband, the fact that your wife would do that almost every day for years, that she would stick a note in your lunchbox.”
He said, “Oh, Nancy, those notes mean more than you could possibly imagine. They are better than lunch. In fact, I’d rather go without lunch than go without those notes.”
You may be giving your husband, your children, basic things like meals and clothes, and you bless your family in those ways. But are you neglecting something that could be a priceless, precious gift? And that’s looking for everyday ways and opportunities to invest words of blessing.
You see, Terry’s more a man of God today than he was ten years ago when he first came to know Christ. A big part of the reason for that is a wife named Susan who is sticking these little notes in her husband’s lunch pail, speaking words of blessing.
Terry’s not always been, he’ll tell you, he’s not always been the easiest husband in the world, the easiest dad in the world. He had a lot of issues in his own background that he’s had to work through. But he’s got a wife who’s speaking blessing. I am watching that couple, as they bless each other, become more of what God created them to be.
As you speak words of blessing into your family members, into your friends, and into your fellow workers, watch as God transforms their lives by the power of the blessing.
Let me just add a further thought to that, and that is that not only should we look for everyday opportunities, whether it’s sticking a note in your kids’ lunch before they go to school or just day-in and day-out speaking words of blessing. But also, ask God to show you how to take advantage of special occasions to bring a special blessing to those who are in your life: your mate, your children.
Listen, you may be single listening to this, and you are thinking, Wow! You’re talking a lot about blessing husband and blessing children. Who do I bless? Do you have a roommate? Do you have parents? Do you have coworkers? People in your small group, your accountability group, people in your church, your pastor?
Women, we need to bless our pastors. We need to bless those who provide spiritual leadership to the flock. And not only bless your pastor, bless his wife. She needs it, too.
But in addition to those everyday relationships, look for special occasions, special opportunities to speak words of blessings in people’s lives.
Do you think those little children who were brought to Jesus that particular day, when the disciples were not having room in their agenda for children, but Jesus took those children into His arms, sat them in His lap, touched them, and blessed them. Do you think those children ever forgot that occasion? It had to mark them for life.
I want to say there are moments that God brings people into your life. Maybe people that you don’t know or people that you do know. But there are precious, priceless moments when you can give a blessing in a way that will be life transforming.
And speaking of Jesus touching the children, let me just say. . . We have talked a lot about speaking words of blessing, but meaningful appropriate touch can be such a part of a blessing, too.
It’s just significant to me that that detail is there in Mark chapter 10—Jesus touched those children. We hear so much today about inappropriate touch. But don’t miss the blessing of appropriate touch.
I like to go up to expectant mothers and pat their tummy and bless the child in their womb. I hope it doesn’t bother you if I do that, but I think of that child in the womb, and I think of that mother who thinks she’s really ugly right about now. I look at her, and I say, “There’s nothing more beautiful than an expectant mother.” I just think they’re beautiful.
But I think about that child and God’s plan and God’s purposes for that child. I’ve often just laid my hands on that woman’s tummy and put my arm around the mother and just said, “Bless this child. Bless this mother.” I am looking for an occasion for an opportunity to speak a blessing into the life of that woman at that moment.
Birthdays can become special opportunities, special occasions for speaking blessing. I have been able to be a part of celebrating with my friends their children’s thirteenth birthday or sixteenth birthday or twenty-first birthday—special occasions where people, peers, grownups, friends of the family, were brought in to speak words of blessing on those special occasions.
The Jews do it with the Bar Mitzvah. That is a special occasion of recognizing a young man coming into manhood and speaking a blessing that is meant to go with him into those next years of his life.
Birthdays. My thirtieth birthday and my fortieth birthday were both occasions where people came around me, people that I served with, and spoke words of blessing into my life that have strengthened me. They have been encouraging words that have sent me out into ministry. They’ve blessed me with those words of blessings. Birthdays can be a special occasion to do that.
At births. I have been with parents of newborns in the hospital. And just recently I went over to the hospital the evening that a friend of mine just had a baby. I was the first visitor there. I held that newborn, little Emma Grace Ward, in my arms, as I had done with her brother Benjamin two years earlier.
I just held her and said, “Can I pray a prayer of blessing on this little girl?” I put my hand on her, and with those parents we joined in, and we blessed that little girl. We committed her to the Lord. We spoke words of “God bless this child.”
Now, Emma Grace will not remember that occasion, neither will her brother Benjamin. But I believe that those words have power. They go into that child’s life. They’re seeds that are planted. It’s a prayer, an implication of God’s blessing on that child.
When I bless someone else, I do it by faith. I expect God to hear, and I expect God to answer, according to His will, to answer that prayer. I expect that those children will walk with God, and they’re not my children.
That just illustrates that not only is this important for our own children, but we have a role as the body of Christ in the lives of others. As part of the family of God, it matters to me that Wes and Carrie’s little boy and girl walk with God, even though they’re not my children.
So I want to bless you. I want to bless your children. I want to bless your marriages. I will sometimes come and pray over . . . I remember an instance when I was prompted in a conference to go up to a couple who were the leaders of a Christian ministry. I just felt prompted to put my hands on their shoulders and to say, “Can I pray for you?” And I prayed a blessing on that couple on that occasion.
Weddings are a great opportunity to pray a blessing. If you go back to the fourth chapter of the book of Ruth, you will see at Ruth and Boaz’s wedding how the wedding guests gave a blessing to Ruth and Boaz: “May God bless you. May God multiply you. May God give you a godly seed.”
Jesus the Messiah came through that line of Boaz and Ruth. The Savior was an answer to those blessings prayed at that wedding of Boaz and Ruth centuries earlier.
There’s power in blessing. When you go as a wedding guest, don’t just go to spectate, to take notes on what the bride’s wearing and what the whole wedding looks like. Go as a participant. You say, “But I’m not in the bridal party.” You can be, as you pray a blessing.
Look for an opportunity. I have done this often in different ways right before the wedding or right after the wedding. It may be with a note. It may be with verbal words to speak a blessing into that couple, and they need it! It’s going to take incredible grace of God for that marriage not only to survive, but even more to thrive. We can be a part of speaking blessing into those couples.
When your kids go away to college, when they leave home, have a blessing ceremony. Your kids may be embarrassed by this. It may seem a little weird, especially if they haven’t grown up seeing you do blessing ceremonies. That’s why you need to make it a part of your family as they are growing up.
A man told me recently that the first time his dad ever hugged him was when he was twenty-nine years of age and was moving to another state. And he said, “Then it was really me who hugged my dad.” But he said that it was the first time he ever had physical affection, and the fact that the son was moving away seemed to make it okay.
Well, don’t be embarrassed to do that, but do it before your kids are twenty-nine. Long before. When they are leaving, when they are going off to college, you know they are going to be facing challenges there, bless them. Pray a blessing on them. Get others into your home to come pray a blessing over them.
When somebody starts into a new job or a new ministry, when you get a new pastor in your church, take time to bless them. You say, “Well, our church isn’t into doing this.” Well, you be into doing this.
Listen, I'm a woman. I'm a single woman and, it would be easy to say, “The elders should do that.” Maybe they should, but I have gone to my different pastors over the years and their wives, and I have said in different ways, “I want to bless you. Thank you for your ministry. I want to encourage you, and lay a blessing on you.”
When we started Revive Our Hearts, before we even went on the air, we had this blessing ceremony. We committed the ministry to the Lord. We prayed, we asked for God’s blessing on it.
But then, as I was going to be teaching in this new ministry, men in leadership there asked me to kneel, and people in the partner ministries came around me. They laid hands on me. They set me apart for this task. They blessed me. And in many of the hard days since then my mind has gone back to receive that blessing that God gave through His people at the launching of that ministry.
Let me say that giving this blessing is especially important for people to do with those who are under their authority or those that they are closely related. You can do it as a wife for your husband, but even more important, a husband to do it for his wife, dads and moms, to bless their children.
And let me just say, I know we have some dads who tune in from time to time to Revive Our Hearts. Just as a daughter, can I say to you dads a word of appeal? You cannot imagine how much it would mean to your wife, to your daughters, to your grandchildren, when you speak words of blessing into their lives.
And wives, you can encourage your husbands lovingly, respectfully, and help him. You’re his helper. Help your husband to see the value in the importance of you as a couple blessing your children.
And as you bless, those words of blessing will cause growth. They will give hope. They will bring healing. They will turn hearts toward the Blesser.
So as we wrap up this series, here’s the challenge: We have been blessed. Receive God’s blessing in your life, and then let God make you a blesser.
When we bless others, what we are really doing is speaking to them God’s blessing. We become a channel, a vehicle to take God’s blessing into the life of that person. There is no greater blessing than God’s blessing. When you bless someone with God’s blessing, they have been blessed. Whether they seem to receive it or not, give it anyway.
It’s so powerful to speak the blessing of God into the lives of others. Just as powerful, and even more so, as when we curse, demean, diminish or belittle with our words, we speak lies into their lives, which, if they believe those lies, can destroy their lives.
Well, even more so, we speak words of blessing, we become instruments of grace and growth and blessing in the lives of those around us.
Leslie: That message wraps up a series called “Overcoming the Curse of Words.”
Nancy talked about two main things: Overcoming the curse of negative words others have said to you, and overcoming the tendency to curse others, to use your words to bless.
This teaching applies to every single woman, and if you missed any of the series, I hope you’ll hear all the episodes at ReviveOurHearts.com or get the series on CD. It’s called, “Overcoming the Curse of Words.”
We’re able to bring you series like this one because listeners believe in the ministry and give to keep it going. When you help make Revive Our Hearts possible with your gift of any size, we’ll send you the brand new book by Nancy Leigh DeMoss. It’s called The Wonder of His Name.
This book will lead you through thirty-two devotional readings about Jesus. Each one explores one of His names. And as you explore these names, you’ll appreciate who Jesus is and what He did.
Nancy’s going to teach on these names during the Lenten season, and I know you’ll get a lot more out of the series when you read this book at the same time. That series begins March 5.
To get your copy of the book “The Wonder of His Name” donate any amount at