Friday, October 30, 2015

the power to heal.... or destroy

Today's readings: Lamentations 1:1-2:22, Philemon 1:1-25, Psalm 101:1-8, Proverbs 26:20

Proverbs 26:20 is a concept that everyone should learn. It tells us something very powerful. Lives are destroyed or saved by the power of our words.

It's a very clear image that the verse gives us. Just as fire goes out without wood, so do quarrels and arguments go away without gossip. Gossiping is so easy to fall into... and our society pretends like it is a fun thing, and good. Just like our society tells us that scandal is fun and interesting.

But both of them destroy people's lives. Gossip hurts people, and can even kill people. Scandal is just a bigger form of gossip. Sharing harmful information about others might seem like a harmless pastime, but it has the power to destroy.

On the other hand, we have the power to make people's lives better, as well. We can lift people up. We can encourage them... the word "encourage" comes from "couer", which means "heart". It means to strengthen someone's heart. To "give them courage". We can do this by sharing truth with them that heals, that helps, that lifts them up.

Notice that both ideas, gossip and encouragement, have to do with telling people the truth. Most gossip is true information. But just because something is true doesn't mean it's worth repeating. There is some truth that doesn't need to be spread around. That's why it is so important to consider not just if something is true before we say it, but if it is kind. If it benefits the people we're talking to.

That might sound strange. If it's true, shouldn't I say it? Not always. It might be true that your friend has gained weight and looks terrible. But do you think you should walk up to them and talk all about how bad they look? Probably not the best truth to share.

A good way to think about it is this: there are millions of true facts all around us every day. We're not going to say all of them. So we have to choose which true facts we're going to talk about. Let's choose the ones that bring life and healing to the people we talk to, rather than pain.

God, thank You for teaching us the power of our words.

1 comment:

julie reedy said...

As people age, it becomes very clear that with more time on their hands they spend more time gossiping about others. It is much like the childhood game of telephone. Whispering from one person to the next and the last one tells what they were told and it is nothing like what the 1st person said. If something does not lift some up, then they are probably tearing them down. Think before you speak or pass something on.