If you can’t tell already, my love language is “words of encouragment”. “Sticks and stones” don’t hold a candle to what a mean-spirited, cruelly-aimed word can do to me (or aimed at one I love)(or even one I don’t love!). A kind word can alter my perception of the entire day, an ill-spoken word can derail an otherwise great day.
Not that I live for other people’s words; as God is continuing to transform the way I think, process information, and view people, He’s also redirecting my focus to hear what He has to say about me; how He already views me. I’m a princess in His eyes and that’s pretty doggone good.
That being said, an older friend of mine shared something with me this summer that kinda blew me away. He’s in his 70s (older???) and we served together on Young Life’s adult committee. Bob and his wife, Helen, are two of the most gentle souls you could meet, they’re “who” I wanna be when I grow up :). They love their babies and grands (and great grands?), they’re active in serving others, and they’re still teachable :). They often look like “Jesus with skin on”.
Apparently, years ago (and I do mean YEARS, we’ve lived in Tennessee over three now), I complimented him and told him he looked nice in a particular shirt. When I was in South Carolina for a visit, I ran into them; it was great to hug their necks and catch up a bit. Before I left, Bob told me, “I still wear that shirt you told me looks good on me.” I have no idea what shirt he’s talking about…but he STILL remembers.
Which is an important thing for me to always remember:
My words carry weight and bearing in the life of others; I need to choose them wisely.
What a fantastic reminder about both the power of influence we all have on those within our “sphere,” and an encouragement to choose our words carefully. I don’t have to look any further than here to realize how powerful words are, and how I need to exercise discernment in what I say. I’m smiling as I recount for the umpteenth time what I tell my children frequently, “THINK before you SPEAK!” (okay, practice what you preach, practice what you preach!).
There is no way of telling in advance what’s going to “stay” with someone. I wonder what my tongue has done both ways–positively and negatively. Perhaps it’s best not to know. Especially where my kids are concerned, my husband, those closest to me.
I’m glad I ran into Bob for a number of reasons, but most of all, for him to “teach” me one more time :).