Jesus’ little brother sure has a penchant for convicting me of stuff. In keeping with last week, I want to share from the book of James. In chapter three the author writes about the tongue, “With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers [and sisters] these things ought not to be so.” (James 3:9-10)
How often have we heard unkind words come out of the mouths of other believers? How often do we hear it come out of our own mouths? Our words carry more weight than we even realize. Pastor and author Craig Groeschel calls it ‘Lethal Language.’
However, in the same way James tells us that our words can do damage to ‘people who are made in the likeness of God,’ our words can also be life giving. Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. (Proverbs 12:18 NIV)
I can be quick with criticism, even quicker with sarcasm. It is easy to forget that each person I am speaking with, whether they believe it or not, is made in the image and likeness of God. If I were slower to speak and slower to become frustrated or angry, my words could bring more life. The only thing we are required to do as Christians is love God and love others. Everything else flows from that. All the laws and all the prophets boil down to those two things. Are we quick to encourage or impede? Are we as quick to compliment or cut down?
Being a native New Jerseyans (like myself) cynicism and criticalness comes naturally. What if we go out of our way to compliment when the thought runs across our mind? Early on in our relationship, my now wife would ask me if she looks nice when we went out. My response was always an emphatic yes, but the follow up was, “Why don’t you ever say it?” What I realized was that even though I thought to myself that she looked nice, I never said it out loud. I never shared those encouraging words. Whenever you think of something positive to say, SAY IT! Why rob someone of a blessing by keeping it to yourself?
It’s always the right time to be encouraging.