The strength of your words is immeasurable; you have the ability to bring something the gift of refreshing through your words. You can also bring scalding, painful death to someone. Choose wisely, please.
Signed sincerely by,
Someone who is not fat, ugly, or rejected. Someone who chooses is going through the painful process of recovery, someone who is being healed, restored and is beginning to enjoy the benefits of Christ’s sanctification process.
I still remember the day like it was yesterday. My friend and I were out walking in the woods. All was quiet except for the occasional squirrel’s chirp or robin’s call. Much to our delight, rays from the setting sun filtered through dark pine leaves and settled gracefully on the forest floor. Our pathway was laid before us and emanating with God’s glory. I remember taking in a deep breath and sighing with relief. It had been a long day. Although my head was pounding I ignored the pain and continued pouring out syntax. After all, I didn’t want to make a bad impression on my friend. I’d always felt left out of conversation as a kid and didn’t want to lose the privilege of the “cool” Jill’s listening ear now…
Jill, ah Jill. That girl was high end and very fashionable gal. Let’s put it this way: Whenever I’d plop myself into the heated seat of her car she unfailingly have the latestversion of Vogue, GQ or some fancy pansy fashion mag propped up against hersteering wheel, her eyes furiously scanning the pages for some insight. In case you don’t know me please know this: I’m a Kootenay’s chick but I don’t fly that way. I live in the mountains. I hike. Enough said? Not really. Okay, I’ll be more blunt. I don’t dress like a model, never have and probably won’t… ever.
For some reason beyond me I remember asking her this question: “Jill, what would you say about my style?” She swept her eyes over me and replied,“Daggy. You dress… daggy.” As I made clear earlier, I am not Australian. As can be expected I did not know what the word “daggy” meant. I asked her to expand on that. She didn’t. The only response I got from her was a hasty change of topic.
I did check the definition eventually. When I did it felt to me like the wind had been taken out of my sails. Wikipedia claimed I was, “Unfashionable, mainstream, untidy and not stylish.” Ouch. Needless to say, I’ve had to surrender this definition of myself to God and claim His truth. That’s a story for another time.
“I’ve had to surrender this definition of myself to God and claim His truth.”
I’m sure all of us have similar stories that prove will my point and solidify in us the impact of negative words. I’m sure we all know that hurtful words not only sting in the moment, they also have the ability to pervade and destroy an entire life.
Anyhow, my second story happened on a warm September evening eight years ago. It’s ridiculous that even after eight years I can still hear the hush that befell her voice, feel my tightening grip on the telephone and experience the feeling of sweat as it beaded a wet band around my forehead. Above all else, I remember those piercing, ugly words, “We think you’re fat.” I remember the flush of shock as it pervaded my body. I hadn’t felt that feeling since the moment my mother told me she was “sick” or that Dad “left the family.” Wow. Ouch. Because I carried this untruth, and many others, for eight years I almost lost my life to a battle with anorexia and bulimia.
“Above all else, I remember those piercing, ugly words, ‘we think you’re fat.”
All this to say, let’s be so careful with what we say to those around us, especially children! We need to encourage them with words of life and not death and destruction.
The truth of the matter is: people may think it appropriate to call it as they see it but we ought to not make hasty judgements when we experience a child who is whiny and irritating or that teen that is being a moody, uncontrolled brat. We may not see or understand it but they could be feeling pain beyond anything we’ve ever experienced. Perhaps they haven’t been taught how to express themselves. Maybe the problem is that they don’t have anyone to express themselves to…
“Let’s not make hasty judgements when we experience that child who is whiny and irritating or that teen that is being a moody brat.”
We are called to speak words of life to the people around us, even when we don’t feel like they are deserving of them. My goodness, the fact that God of the universe wants a relationship with us is a miraculous act of His grace. We, as Christians, are not perfect by any means but we are called to sanctification (sanctification is the daily process of becoming more like Christ through being in relationship with Him. Please keep in mind this is my simplified definition. Sanctification is a beautiful and deserves a more detailed explanation).
“We, as Christians, are not perfect by any means but we are called to sanctification.”
The more time we spend with God the better equipped we will be to live out this quote, “The kids who deserve your love the least need it the most.” And this is what the world needs: words that Jesus Himself would speak. Let’s follow in the footsteps of our big brother.
Let’s speak His words of life.