Have you ever caught yourself saying something that scared you? Words that just leapt out of your mouth? Perhaps something in the line of, “I can’t believe you are that stupid!” or “Does everything you touch end up broken?!” Whether you’ve said similar things or heard these types of words directed at you, it flat out hurts.
So, what say you? What stance do you take as a leader in how you communicate with people? Are you one to use words to build up or to tear down? If you are anything like me, you have to work extra hard at making a conscious effort to find good words to say about people. For me, being a jerk comes easy. However, there’s no excuse for treating anyone (friend or foe) as less than oneself. The Message Bible I believe says it best;
“Here is a simple rule of thumb for behavior: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you; then grab the initiative and do it for them! If you only love the lovable, do you expect a pat on the back? Run-of-the-mill sinners do that. If you only help those who help you, do you expect a medal? Garden-variety sinners do that. If you only give for what you hope to get out of it, do you think that’s charity? The stingiest of pawnbrokers does that.” (Luke 6:31 MSG) #goldenrule
I am constantly reminded of words I’ve said to others and how deep it hurt them at the time (and perhaps how it still may hurt them). That’s not a good place to be, but there is a way out of that failure. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9 ESV) Today is a good day to begin building each other up and moving past our own past failures. We’ve all been there, hurting someone with our words. Have we been there when we’ve made someone’s day by saying something encouraging to them? Let’s have the encouraging days outnumber the tear down days, for the glory of God and the words He’s given us to use.
Here’s a true story to illustrate how the weight of our words can impact the people around us. In 1947, a man by the name of Robert Pierce was speaking at a Christian Crusade in China. His main role was to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ, so that people would hear and believe in the power of God’s Word and its effect in their lives. However, for Mr. Pierce, it went much further than that one moment. While on this trip to China, Robert met a missionary teacher named Tena Hoelkedoer. She brought to him girl who gave her life to Christ and subsequently was beaten and disowned by her family for doing so. Miss Hoelkedoer asked him, “What are you going to do about her?” He unknowingly brought trouble to the girl for giving her life to Jesus. Robert Pierce’s response? Pierce gave the woman his last five dollars and agreed to send the same amount each month to help the woman care for the child. Pierce’s compassion for others was unleashed because of what the Holy Spirit was using Robert for. Just 3 years later, Robert Pierce founded what is known today as World Vision International; the largest non-profit organization in the world. In 2011, World Vision generated $2.79 billion in revenue to serve people in need all over the globe. This organization employs over 44,000 individuals, not to mention the countless numbers of volunteers who also believe in the power of words put into action. Robert Pierce resigned as World Vision President in 1967 to 3 years later start another well known organization called Samaritan’s Purse. In 1978, Robert’s personal words into action came to an end when he lost his battle with leukemia, but not before helping another at Samaritan’s Purse, Franklin Graham who later in 1979 became the organization’s new president and remains so today.
What words do you think Robert Pierce had written in his Bible as motivation to do what he did? “Let my heart be broken with the things that break the heart of God.” So, what say you?