We Could All Use a Little Encouragement
William Barclay, one of the world’s most prolific Christian commentators, said, “One of the highest of human duties is the duty of encouragement…It is easy to laugh at [people’s] ideals; it is easy to pour cold water on their enthusiasm; it is easy to discourage others. The world is full of discouragers. We have a Christian duty to encourage one another. Many a time a word of praise or thanks or appreciation or cheer has kept a [person] on [his/her]feet. Blessed is the [one] who speaks such a word.” (I have to imagine if Barclay were alive today, he would have used inclusive language.)
It is our Christian duty to encourage one another. What if we really took that duty seriously? What if we lived out 1 Thessalonians 5:11, Therefore encourage one another and build up each other, as indeed you are doing. [NRSV]
Whoever coined the phrase, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me,” should be severely sanctioned. I mean, I’m sure they are long gone from this life, but still. It is a fallacy that has come to be considered truth. Its use has piled damage on top of damage.
Words can be incredibly hurtful and harmful, and unlike the broken bones that result from sticks and stones being thrown, the pain inflicted by words may never heal. There are no stitches or surgeries for a wounded ego, a broken heart or a damaged soul. And unlike those with visible wounds, the victims of verbal attacks often find no sympathy because their hurts can’t be seen.
A word out of your mouth may seem of no account, but it can accomplish nearly anything—or destroy it!–James 3:5 [The Message translation].
Today, simply be mindful of the power of your words. It is easy to forget how much weight our words may carry. They can make a day or ruin one. They can lift up or bring down. Wield your power wisely.