The Power Of Words

O Lord, keep our hearts, keep our eyes, keep our feet, and keep our tongues. – William Tiptaft

This is a powerful reminder. Our words hold so much potential to either encourage or discourage. My prayer every day is that God would prepare me for every conversation…every interaction I will have that day. I pray that the Lord would ready my heart to respond in a loving and encouraging way. I drop the ball many, many times; but, I am working on that.

These are interesting times. Social Media has given everyone a voice and many use it for good. There are those, however that use it as a megaphone to voice everything and I do mean EVERYTHING that pops into their heads. Where is the thought? Where is the balance? Where is the kindness?

MPCCconcert2012Oct174I have been a Worship Pastor for nearly 25 years. In that time I have gotten more than my share of pats on the back. I’ve also gotten more than my share of criticism. But, I had something happen recently that left me astonished.

Our staff volunteers regularly at the Impact Center on the campus of our church. The Impact Center is a food pantry and clothing ministry that is making a difference in the lives of hundreds of families every single week.

Last month as I was preparing to serve, an older lady in our church approached me and I could tell she had something she needed to unload. We had recently used the classic hymn, “Holy, Holy, Holy” in our weekend services and while she thanked me for my hard work she let me know that she was not at all happy about the tempo (speed) at which we had sung this hymn. “It’s not supposed to sound like a funeral song…I want it faster!” Knowing that these conversations rarely take a positive turn, I thanked her, smiled and walked away.

Here’s the astonishing part…about a week later, a hand written card appeared in my church mailbox. It was from her. It started, “Dear Brian, please forgive my abrupt and critical statement about ‘Holy, Holy, Holy.’ Yes, I like it played a little faster, but have since disliked my critical delivery to you…”

I was blown away. What a kind gesture by a woman who has spent her life serving God in the local church. She taught me a valuable lesson about the power of words. She went on to write some very kind things in that note that I will never forget. She used her words to embody the Steve Arterburn quote at the top of this blog.

Some people make cutting remarks, but the words of the wise bring healing. – Proverbs 12:18

Have you used your words to encourage today? If not, is there someone you need to write a note to or, better yet, talk with in person? I know that’s the case for me and I will be doing that as soon as I hit post on this blog. Let’s all work to be encouragers.

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