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Books for those in ministry organizations who desire to take their leadership, teams, governance, and ministry effectiveness to the next level.

18 Jun '11

Words that bring life and words that bring pain. Our daily choice.

We live in a world that is often hard and harsh. Circumstances disappoint, life often throws us curves we don't expect or appreciate and people can be less than supportive. That is why we gravitate toward those people in our lives who are encouraging, who speak words of life to us and are literally Jesus in our lives.

Think of the difference between the words of Jesus and the words of the Pharisees. Jesus' interactions were life giving and the Pharisees' interactions were life taking. Jesus was full of grace while the Pharisees were full of legalism. I know believers who reflect the attitude of Christ and those that reflect the attitude of the Pharisees, those who bring grace and those who bring guilt.

Recently someone made a comment to me that was like a knife in the stomach. Words that hurt deeply. It reminded me of how powerful words are, either to be life giving or life taking. As I shared the pain I was feeling with another friend he brought words of encouragement, perspective and life. He was Jesus to me in my pain. 

Paul encourages us to "not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs...Be kind and compassionate to one another...Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs...(Ephesians 4-5)." 

Here is what I know. My words today can be life giving, encouraging and reflect the love and grace of Jesus. Or, they can be critical, hurtful and life taking and reflect the attitude of the Pharisees. I have this choice in every interaction I have. When I speak like the Pharisees I do so from pride and judgement. When I speak like Jesus I do so from humility and grace.