Last year I had the privilege of teaching a Mentoring Class for women in their 20’s and 30’s. A number of “older” women (50 +) joined me in mentoring these precious young women. This fall we decided to do Mentoring II for any who had taken the first class.
I can tell you unreservedly, this is absolutely one of the most enjoyable, exhilarating things I ever get to do! I love these young women and I love the mentors who are pouring into these women. It’s just pure joy for me!
This next Sunday we’re going to look at the power of our words. It’s really convicting to me as I write it and I know it will be convicting to those who attend. In preparation for the class, I’ve been thinking about some “famous sayings” that have become part of our culture and even helped shape history. Sayings like:
Four score and seven years ago…(Lincoln)
The only thing to fear is fear itself…(FDR)
It is an ideal for which I am prepared to die. (Nelson Mandela)
Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall! (President Reagan)
Then I think of words I’ve spoken over the years that have shaped the rest of “my” history.
“Please come into my heart and be my Savior.” (1957, kneeling in front of an old vinyl couch, giving my life to Jesus and a love relationship began that has grown exponentially stronger and deeper over the years.)
“I do.” (1972, to John Bray, at an altar in Marion, IN, and another love relationship was cemented that has had a profound impact on every part of my life.)
“I agree that we should go to Moline, IL to Heritage Wesleyan Church.” (1973, even though I didn’t want to! But it didn’t take long to for me to love this church with a passion that has never died.)
“Let’s have a baby.” (1977 – and nine months later one of the greatest loves of my life was laid in my arms, Heather Michelle.)
“I think it’s time to have another one.” (1980 – and nine months later another love of my life was laid in my arms, Karin Nicole.)
Yep, my words have shaped my life, often for the better.
But I think of words I’ve used at times that have hurt someone (even if it was unintentional) and that makes me really heartsick.
Then I think of words that I’ve used that have helped someone feel encouraged or honored or valued. Oh, how I want to use my words to build up, not tear down! I’m challenged by this quote by someone who got it right:
“We’re all disfigured in some way. Some of us wear our disfigurements visibly. Some of us wear our scars on the walls of our souls. Please teach us to be gentle with each other. Remind us that our words can be like stones; forgive us for the times we’ve thrown unkind words at people who are different from us. Use our kind words to build safe havens for the hurting. In Jesus’ name, Amen.” (Author unknown to me)
“A gentle answer turns away wrath…” (Proverbs 15:1)
“…a gentle tongue can break a bone.” (Proverbs 25:15
Help me, Lord, minute by minute, to speak your words of grace, kindness, and love.