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Albert Schweitzer states, “Constant kindness can accomplish much. As the sun makes ice melt, kindness causes misunderstanding, mistrust, and hostility to evaporate.”
And yet, when it comes to our politics, opinions and even our religion, kindness is too often not associated with our speech, actions and attitudes. What a tragedy!
Beyond that being a tragedy, choosing to be harsh and unkind with our words is contrary to the character of Christ and the wisdom of scripture. Proverbs 16:24 (ESV) shares, “Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.”
Proverbs 15:26 (ESV) notes, “The thoughts of the wicked are an abomination to the Lord, but gracious words are pure.”
As followers of Christ, we serve a Savior who is regularly known for having compassion. We should do the same.
And here’s why: so often, we are unaware of the influence our words can have on someone. Have you ever found yourself having a rough day, but a kind gesture or positive interaction with someone changed the trajectory of your day?
Contrastingly, have you been in a good mood, but a sour attitude from someone just rubbed you the wrong way? We are always amazed when we seemingly give random moments of encouragement and equally upset when we come in contact with mean people or harsh words.
However, beyond what we receive, do you constantly and consistently ask yourself, “am I giving words of encouragement and joy?” Just as much as we find ourselves encouraged or discouraged by the words of others, we, too, can be the source of encouragement and discouragement toward others with our words.
As much as it depends on us, we should make it our habit, or better yet our character, to be sources of encouragement to anyone we come in contact with. You and I can even have the power to melt the ice of a hardened heart, to be a catalyst to evaporate hostility, even in circumstances where you disagree.
Somewhere in our shouting matches, we have forgotten the gift of agreeable disagreement. Too many have convinced themselves that shouting louder, being viler, or being angrier, will convince others that their perspective is right and all others are wrong.
Yet, our conversations are not a boxing match; as believers, we are not called to go blow for blow with our words. Instead, we are called to speak life and speak with love.
Jesus says that we will be known by our love for one another (John 13:35). This must include our words toward all humanity. Perhaps we would get more accomplished, our thoughts and opinions considered, and the hostility in our culture reduced if we all individually chose to speak with kindness and love as often as we could.
You never know what kind of life you would give someone else when you talk with love instead of just trying to be loud. Make the daily conscious choice to speak with kindness; help brighten someone’s day.
You never know what it may do to help someone else. And in the process, it may brighten your day, too.
Christopher M. Todd is a Coosa County resident and the pastor of The New Home Missionary Baptist Church near Rockford.