Words That Build

I have a hammer
I do like to use.
But if I’m not careful
it will leave a bruise.
When I have a project
that needs some repair.
I consider its nature
and hammer with care.

When a project is fragile
and the material light.
I never would hammer
with all of my might.
Yet some things are stronger
and made of hard wood.
And a half-hearted tapping
would do it no good.

But more than just strength
for the project that’s planned.
I must consider
if the right hammer’s in hand.
If I don’t choose wisely,
I’ll destroy what is good.
Or wear myself out,
like I never should.

I must also be careful,
with the hammer in hand.
That I pay close attention
to where its blows land.
If I just swing wildly,
I’ll damage the wood.
Or hammer my fingers,
which never is good.

While this is all true,
of the tools that we use.
It’s not about hammers
but the words that we choose.
So choose your words wisely
for the task that’s at hand.
And build up each other,
the way that God planned!

© 2019 by Tom Lemler

As one who directs a preaching/teaching/writing ministry, I use a lot of words.  The effect of words on me heavily influences my approach to how I attempt to use words.  This poem showed up in my mind tonight and I believe it flows from an internal struggle that reoccurs in my life because of words that have been directed toward me.  Almost every time I preach, teach, or write, I find myself hearing two sets of words in my mind.  Both sets are actual words which have been spoken to me.  One set tells me I have no business doing what I’m doing and the other set tells me my teaching is powerful and effective.  Fortunately, I know which set corresponds with the truth of God’s Word and His gifting in my life, but that doesn’t always fully remove the sting of the other words.  What it does, however, is to drive me to consider more carefully the words I use.  I know the pain of words that are not used well and I consistently pray that God would always help me to use words, both in content and context, that would be helpful and not hurtful.  I pray that you and I would always choose words that build rather than words that tear down.

In prayer,

Helpful Words

Collecting these poems
      has been quite a trip.
If I think of it much
      my mind still does flip.
I even have poems
      that pass through my brain.
My mind is uncertain
      so to share, I refrain.
It’s not that they’re bad,
      they all are quite true.
I think some are for me
      while some are for you.

Sometimes it does seem
      that many do think.
From speaking their thoughts,
      they never should shrink.
If they have a thought
      show up in their head.
Of course they will speak it,
      it has to be said.
We live in a time
      when we think it’s our right.
To say what we want
      no matter who is in sight.

It seems we’ve forgotten
      an important fact.
To think first of others
      is how we should act.
And part of our action
      is the way we do speak.
So guard your words closely
      their good you would seek.
Truth doesn’t sink in
      if we have no love.
And love that is pure
      must come from above.

So when words do hurt,
      in whole or in part.
Look so much closer,
      examine the heart.
Sometimes words hurt
      because we must learn.
The truth of the words
      is what we did earn.
If love is the motive
      that drives what we do.
The hurt isn’t fatal
      it’s meant to help you.

This I do know
      because of what I have read.
I open the Bible
      and read what God said.
Some of His words
      cut straight to the heart.
But His love does fill me,
      so healing can start.
To be more like Jesus,
      that is my aim.
So I pray that my words
      would do just the same.

My mind seems to be filled with poems lately and some specifically that remind me of God’s love and care through very difficult circumstances and in the midst of feelings of unjust treatment at various times in my life.  While these have brought me great peace and comfort, it seems like I get a very clear “Not now” when I think about sharing them.  As a couple of those were going through my head this morning, reminding me of God’s goodness, He put this poem in my mind to share with you.  I pray that it is a help and encouragement to you and that it brings glory to God.

In prayer,


Words can be powerful,
     more than we know.
For good or for bad,
      either way it can go.
A careless word spoken
     is striking a spark.
Then the mind quickly takes us
     to a place that is dark.
Over and over
     the mind plays a word.
And after a while
     nothing else can be heard. 

I think far too often
     our tongue starts to say.
Things that are hurtful
     and get in the way.
Words come between us
     when freely they flow.
We don’t stop to think,
     so out the mouth they do go.
If you’re not so certain
     of all of these claims.
Then pick up a Bible,
     read the words penned by James. 

And while this sounds hopeless
     and out of control.
Words can bring healing
     and help make you whole.
A word fitly spoken
     is like an apple of gold.
A word that brings healing
     is a thing to behold!
The Word that is Jesus
     is quite a big deal.
A word from the Savior
     has the power to heal. 

So as you consider
     the words that you use.
The ones that bring healing,
     I pray you do choose.
The ones that are careless
     and bring such great hurt.
I pray you remove them
     along with the dirt.
And as you spread good things
     by what you do say.
I pray that God’s Spirit
     brings great healing today.


This is one of three poems that rolled out of my head in rather quick succession as I spent time listening to God for direction and peace.  I pray that these words are of the healing kind in your life and mine.

In prayer,