This week's "thought" is another from the now deceased British author/pastor/evangelist David Watson. He speaks about our words, how we need to speak them wisely, and how powerful they can be in bringing healing or causing hurt. It's advice I need to be reminded of frequently. Enjoy.
"Let your conversation be always full of grace, and seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer anyone." (Col. 4:6) Unguarded words (harsh, resentful, insensitive, critical or bitter words) can can destroy God's work more quickly than almost anything else... It is one thing to speak the truth in love, and quite another to speak the truth in negative, destructive ways. Even if our criticism's are 100% right, speaking them with a critical, unloving attitude is 100% wrong, and God is very concerned with our attitudes and motives. Remember that every fellowship is a fellowship of sinners, and as sinners we need to constantly forgive one another...
People who only see me speaking at meetings may be tempted to think I am mature and well-balanced all the time and have no needs. Nothing could be further from the truth. At times I have an overwhelming sense of failure and am deeply distressed. I can get critical, jealous and resentful. Often I hate or condemn myself. Once or twice I have wanted to kill myself.
I confess these things simply to show that I have as many needs as you... Once when I was depressed someone sent me these words: "Enjoy who you are, my child -- my child who has nothing to do but to prove the depths of your Father's everlasting and unchanging love." This helped bring me relief and healing.
A woman was a patient in a mental hospital, classified as a chronic schizophrenic as a result of being sexually abused when she was a little child. One day a pastor came to visit that woman. After talking with her he said: "My dear, you are full of self-pity, and self-pity is a form of pride. Until you repent of your pride, you will never be healed." The woman was furiously angry at first [even though his words were spoken in love]. But afterwards she did repent of her pride and self-pity. Within a year she was out of the hospital, and she is now a missionary for Christ."
Our words are powerful -- not only what we say and how we say it, but even why we feel the need to say anything in the first place. It's often the motives that drive us to speak and the attitudes behind the words we speak that make all the difference in how they are received and whether or not they bring the intended healing, encouragement or restoration to a struggling or fallen brother or sister in the Lord.
Dr. Jeffrey F. Evans