Tree of Life
Have you ever been around someone whose words, even in jest, tear down instead of build up? Have you ever known someone who says much through the silence of withholding words? Their presence can be depleting and destructive.
Have you ever wondered if YOU are that person? It's easy to identify a problem in someone else (it gratifies our pride), but essential that we examine the image, mouth, and heart in the mirror. I've been asking God to convict and show me words from my mouth that don't benefit or build up. I want Him to give me a healing tongue that is "a tree of life" instead of one that "breaks the spirit" (Prov. 15:4).
To those of you who, like myself, tend to jump to extremes (ummhmmmm, come on now, we know who we are, haha): Does this mean we should never say hard things? Nope, we have a God-given responsibility to admonish other Believers when necessary (Heb. 3:13, Col. 3). Iron sharpens iron with heat. We need to make sure our "why" and "how" is God-pleasing and constructive to the hearer in those situations. And, when someone says something to us that hurts to hear, be willing to consider their words in humility and not through "victim ears." Ok, back to the point....
There's the well-known saying, "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all." Frankly, that seems like a cop-out to me. God can give us the ability to say something nice even when it seems impossible.
Depending on the personality, words come more easily for some than others. Still, we are all capable of at least one nice word a day. It just might take a little more effort to make sure it happens. Even though I am a "word person," I still find a daily phone reminder to give my spouse affirmation helpful!
Let's start this week with the plan to speak life-giving words to those around us. Decide who you want to speak to, make a daily reminder, or be watchful for opportunities. Here's a challenge: Say it to someone who you find hard to love. (Sorry, don't have any gold stars for that, but it's still worth the effort.)
"Wow, God has really blessed you with *this* ability..."
"I can see how hard you've been working on "*this,* and you're doing a great job."
"I appreciate when you..."
"Thank you for when/how you...."
"Your smile and/or attitude is..."
"*THIS* is such a beautiful feature of you and/or your heart...."
What would you add to that small list?
ANYONE can tear others down with both words and silence. We are to be different.
Who can you GIFT with KINDNESS and ENCOURAGEMENT today?
Remember, in everything we say and do, we show who we really love.
Let's display a love for God and others!