Building Up or Tearing Down

Our words can either build people up or tear them down.

Proverbs 12:1-28

Reference:  v.18  Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. (NIV Bible)

Explore:  Last month I was driving home from church and I saw one of our elderly congregation members walking along the footpath.  Nancy struggled a great deal with memory loss and sometimes forgot her way home.  She was heading in the correct direction but as her house was on my way anyway, I thought I would offer to give her a lift.  She hardly hesitated when I asked her if she would like me to drive her home and once in the car she even remembered I was one of the ministers from church.  I reminded her of my name and then told her I had actually been talking about her that very week.  I had met with a gentleman who had been part of the conversations that led to the creation of Northern Community Church of Christ.  He had mentioned Nancy by name as someone who had been willing to make a big change, even in her older age, for the sake of the church.  She was so surprised that this gentleman had remembered her and admitted that she could not recall who he was.  But she was happy to be told the story.  As I pulled up beside her house she thanked me for giving her a lift.  She said that she had left church that day feeling very unhappy and that she didn’t feel that she had a place there.  She realised that it was probably because of her memory that she forgot things and that she was probably silly to feel that way, but she even wondered whether she should keep coming.  That’s why she was so happy to receive a lift in the car from me and to hear that story.  She felt important again and that she had a place.  And as I waved her goodbye she thanked me again and said, ‘See you next week.’

Application:  We never truly know how someone is feeling when we meet them.  We don’t know if they have had a great day or a disasterous day.  We don’t know whether they are in a positive place or finding even the most simple things a challenge.  But we can have an impact on them.  Our impact can be positive or it can be negative.  Most of us speak so often that we forget the power behind what we say.  Our words can either build people up or tear them down.  This doesn’t mean that we always have to say nice, lovey-dovey things to people to build them up.  Even when we are giving guidance and critique we can still do so in a way that either builds them up or tears them down.  Although words come so easily to us, this is a good reminder to us that words thrown our recklessly can cause great harm, but those given carefully can bring healing to others.

Prayer:  Lord, you give us words of wisdom.  If we take them on board they can only make us better people.  Thank you for building us up and giving us Your guidance.  Amen.

Watch what you say today.  Are your words those that build or tear down?

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This article was written by Linda Bailey

Linda started theological studies in 1999 in Australia. After working for ten years in various church ministries, she now works as the breakfast producer at 89.9 LightFM - the Christian radio station in Melbourne, Australia. She writes blogs every day about passages she is currently reading in the Bible. Follow her on Google Plus +Linda Bailey or Facebook by clicking the like button on the right of this page.

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