Weighty Consequences

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One news story from last week caught my attention and I’ve been dwelling over the situation. Last week, a popular television show was abruptly canceled after its leading actress posted insensitive, racial remarks to social media. The weighty consequence of her words affected more than just the actress. Hundreds of crew members who worked on the television show lost their jobs and income. Those who poured their talents and time into their work lost a stage to pursue their passion. People associated with the actress found themselves in an upsetting position of issuing statements, defending their beliefs and some disassociating their reputation with the actress.

The reality of the situation highlights the power of words. Words have great weight, great consequences and far reaching impacts. They link us to those we associate with- our families, friends, co-workers, organizations, and our churches. Social media extends our circles of influence and brings a greater responsibility to use our words wisely.

How many times do we casually let words fly off of our lips and fingers without giving much thought of where they will land? Casual complaining, negative or questionable comments and posts plant seeds of negative thoughts and perspective. Maybe we do not think it’s a big deal, but seeds of negativity multiply like weeds into discontentment, entitlement and comparison.

On the other hand, truthful, insightful, encouraging words plant seeds of positive and thoughtful perspective. They grow and blossom into good, noble, just, helpful, and useful thoughts. Words have the power to change perspective, restore peace and relationships, and bring life to situations.

This week, let’s think before we speak and press the post button. Are we using words to build up or tear down? Encourage or discourage? Highlight the positive or spotlight the negative? Are we using our words for positive influence in our circles of friends, family, and coworkers? And let’s remember that even the little comment has the greatest power to change lives and situations.  Go be awesome and speak life!

21 The tongue can bring death or life;
those who love to talk will reap the consequences.

Proverbs 18:21 New Living Translation (NLT)


A Web of Kind Words

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Words are powerful. They can be used to express love or hate, help create or destroy, strengthen or weaken, bring hope or despair. History is full of characters who have used wise and foolish words resulting in both successful outcomes and precarious situations. Bible verses and proverbs caution us to think before we speak.  Many famous, important people have said many grand, important things regarding the weight of our words. But…

Sometimes the gentlest voice creates the loudest echo.

The other day, I was reminded of one of my favorite books. Charlotte’s Web is a beautiful story of kindness, love and friendship. Charlotte, a well-spoken, common house spider befriends an insecure, innocent runt of a pig. The story takes place on a farm where the changing seasons are a force that dictates new beginnings and endings. One day, Wilbur discovers the truth of his fate as a farm pig and the news throws him into a state of “hysterics” and despair. Charlotte uses her quiet voice and calming words to help Wilbur compose himself. With compassionate resolve, she vows to think of some way to save her friend’s life.

Charlotte’s plan is masterfully thought through and put together. In a mysterious, quiet way, she does what a spider does best. Charlotte weaves together a miracle.  Her web is much more magnificent than the average spider’s web though. In the center of her dew covered, glistening web, are the woven words “SOME PIG.”  Those words ultimately change Wilbur’s future and the course of his life.

The miracle is not in the actual creation of the web but in the influence of her words. Four times, Charlotte quietly weaves life and confidence into Wilbur. At first, he is unsure, insecure and hesitant to believe, but in time he rises to the occasion and begins to see himself as Charlotte sees him. A terrific, radiant, humble pig!

How often do we refuse to see ourselves in the GOOD ways others see us? Are we quick to dismiss a compliment or word of encouragement? Do we answer life-giving words with negativity? “But I’m not patient.” or “No, you are wrong. I am just about average.”  Do we dismiss compliments with a joke and a let down? “Oh, you cannot be talking about ME leading worship. I have a horrible singing voice.” (I said that one yesterday morning!)

Maybe we should start accepting rather than dismissing. Start thanking instead of throwing away.

AND…. We can all be Charlottes. All of us have the ability to weave webs of words that encourage and support someone’s hopes and dreams. Charlotte was small in size but big in the heart and bright in mind. She did what she could with what she had to give. She quietly, lovingly and creatively made a difference. Her words created lasting echos in Wilbur’s life.

Whether is be your husband, children, neighbors, friends, store clerk, or the local barista. A kind word can be replenishing and restorative. It can help build up and encourage. Kind word are actions. They do not stay static and often their effects gets multiplied and passed on and on and on to others.

This week, I want to encourage you to use what you have. Be bold and creative. Speak quietly or loudly or write and weave. Use what God has given you to make a difference in someone’s life. Speak kindness and goodness that creates loud echos in another person’s life.

Sometimes the gentlest voice creates the loudest echo.