Sometimes we use them carelessly, but words matter. We can all probably remember some of the most formative or most hurtful words spoken to us.
I think of my Dad, embracing me fiercely at a time when I was feeling a failure of a minister, and whispering in my ear, “You are a GOOD minister.” (I still tear up thinking about it…I didn’t even really believe my Dad’s words at that time – I still struggle to sometimes – but it MATTERED that he said them.)
I can still remember some of the hurtful and insulting words that certain bullies in my grade school days hurled at me. I’m 45 years old – I should be over it, but if I allow them to, those words echo in my ears as though they were just said yesterday, not 35 years ago.
I think of the story of one of my friends who honestly believed she was incapable of secondary schooling because one of her teachers told her she wasn’t cut out for it (she just got accepted to a third secondary-school program – having completed the other two – so that teacher has been proven absolutely incorrect in my opinion, and while I am convinced my friend needed a number of year of life experience to clarify what kind of secondary schooling she wanted to pursue, I’m just angry on her behalf that any teacher would discourage a kid from pursuing education.)
So today, I encourage you to choose your words carefully. Use them to build up. Use them to encourage. Use them to bless. Use them to bring light to a dark world.
That’s just what Jesus would do.
Until tomorrow, dear friends, think about the words you use and how they are affecting others.