WITH or At? Do you Speak with people or at them?

preach with people Sep 07, 2022

When it comes to our words, we have so much power. Like the hip hop band Snap said in their one hit wonder, ‘I got the power', we really do. Even if we feel like we really don’t. Even if we think our tongue isn’t all that powerful. Even if we think we don’t have a platform and our words don’t matter to anyone, they do. Our words matter. 

Hang with me for a second. Who is that person, that when they speak to you, it’s just incredible? Do you have someone like that in your life? If you do, congratulations! You have found the gold at the end of the rainbow. If you don’t, why don’t you? Or, are you that person for someone else? Are you constantly looking for ways to encourage, or lift up, or challenge or brighten up? 

Well, this is how much power you and I have when it comes to Speaking With someone or Speaking At them. This is how much power Proverbs 10:11 (the msg) says that we have in our words…

The mouth of a good person is a deep, life-giving well,  but the mouth of the wicked is a dark cave of abuse.

WOW! Think about that for a second, a minute or an hour. That’s a lot to think about. That wipes away the notion or idea or belief that you or I don’t have any power in our words. It really puts it into perspective! When I speak to someone, when I use words to communicate, I have a great responsibility to use words that matter. 

So, which one describes you? Are you a life-giving well or a dark cave of abuse? This is really the heart of Speaking With someone or Speaking At them. Do you consistently speak words that breathe life into people or words that dismantle them? Now, I’m not talking about the moments you slip up and lose your patience and regret saying something that you didn’t mean or came out the wrong way. I’m talking about a consistent pattern over time. 

Maybe you’re trying to figure out what this Speak With or Speak At is all about. Let me give you some ideas to further cement in your thinking and your soul what it means to Speak With or Speak At someone. 

  • When you Speak AT people…
    • People are a means to an end
    • Words are just words
    • You waste the moments that you have them
    • You take no time to learn someone's story
    • You have an MBA in talking Down
    • You're a Jedi at one upping 
    • You make people guess what you're thinking
    • Clarity is not a part of your communication
    • You Assume the worst and you let your emotions run rampant and cause damage.
  • When you Speak WITH people, you…
    • Genuinely Care for People
    • Really understand how powerful words are
    • Realize moments with people are Precious 
    • You're a student of People 
    • You talk UP--not Down,
    • You're a Master Question Asker
    • You actually LISTEN more than you Speak
    • Never one UP but you LIFT up 
    • You don't force a connection
    • You Communicate Continually
    • Your Emotions are Tamed so they don't cause GREAT damage.

We’re not going to get this perfect, we just aren’t. But, if you and I make the decision to work hard at this and to concentrate. To do everything in our power to speak words that bring life and are a life giving well, we will bring so much change to our world. Our words matter because words matter to God. 

So, the challenge for you is to decide what kind of words you want to speak? Do you want to be known for being someone who is a life giving well or a dark cave of abuse. The choice is yours. 

You really do have the power to change the world with your words, so use every opportunity to to Speak With people, not at them.