One final comment (at least for today) about the power of words and the importance of using them in uplifting, encouraging, and positive ways. Yesterday I was flipping through a book of devotionals entitled Day by Day with Billy Graham, and when I read the one for September 17, I knew I HAD to share it.
Dr. Graham tells a story of a woman in England to came to her vicar with a troubled conscience. A habitual gossip who had maligned nearly everyone in the village, she now wanted to make amends. The vicar advised her to take a bag of goose feathers and drop one on the porch of each person she had slandered. The woman did as told and then came back to the vicar and asked, “Is that all?” “No,” he told her, “You must go now and gather up every feather and bring them all back to me.” Unfortunately, this proved to be an impossible task because the wind had blown all of the feathers away.
“My good woman,” said the vicar, “so it is with gossip. Unkind words are easily dropped, but we can never take them back again.” Good story, huh? By the way, the scripture that Dr. Graham paired with this story is James 3:5 (TLB): “The tongue is a small thing but what enormous damiage it can do…”
One of the reasons that I attend church regularly is that I need all the help I can get. Reminders of how to live a better, more Christ-like life are definitely part of my motivation. Then there’s the fact that I get to rub shoulders with other like-minded individuals who are striving towards some of the same goals.
Yesterday one of the teachers used a simple, yet meaningful activity to illustrate something that everyone should practice: charity, the pure love of Christ. Basically each person was given a slip of paper and asked to write something complimentary or kind about the person seated next to him or her. It was easy for me because I was sitting next to Gabriel who happens to be a handsome, personable young man. After writing our comments, then we each had to share them with the class. This activity worked like a charm! In a matter of minutes, the class was electrified with positive energy. After all, everyone likes hearing something positive about herself or himself, and as an additional plus, we got to learn things about others in the class that we might not have known earlier.
After “sharing time,” the teacher reminded us that this is how we should treat others ALL THE TIME, not just in a Sunday school class. Plus, he reminded us that the people we love the most and spend the most time with especially need to hear words of encouragement, appreciation, and praise. It’d be nice if we could all abide in homes in which we could feel the impact of the children’s hymn, “Love is Spoken Here.”