“Kind words are like honey – sweet to the soul
and healthy for the body.”– Proverbs 16:24 (NLT)
Coffee! I really like to drink coffee, and I like it bold with nothing added. One of the side effects for coffee drinkers is the potential of bad breath. So, simply out of the possibility of having bad breath, I frequently have a mint or gum in my mouth, just in case. One of the things I’ve come to learn is how much of what we say is like bad breath. Others smell it when we can’t, and may not tell us right away. Usually we have to rely on our close friends, or kids! Kids will always tell you!
Do you ever feel like your words have a fragrance? Maybe a slightly “off” smell? Our words can project an offensive odor, or, when connected to the right source, can bring a sweet, encouraging smell. Words are always life-giving or life-robbing. I have to ask myself daily, “are my words giving life to that person or myself, or are they robbing them or myself of life?”
Self-confidence is one of the areas I’ve struggled with in my life, and learning how to speak life and truth for myself. I have a great earthly father that loves me and has been present in my life. However, my dad didn’t have a present father or a stable home growing up. Therefore, some of that bled into how he parented me and my two brothers. I loved playing baseball as a kid, any sport really. Anything that would give me the option to compete or perform, I loved, even if I wasn’t very good at it. I certainly thought I gave my best. One consistent theme that ran through all of it was the interaction between my dad and me, and how I interpreted his words and actions to mean “I’m not good enough for him” or “no matter how hard I try I will never make him proud.” The truth was he was proud, but he simply didn’t know how to show it. At the same time, he was walking through his own battles.
Recently, a friend of mine and I were discussing that one of the tools of the enemy is to take something that you’re good at and convince you that you’re lacking, so that you will become lacking in your confidence and unsuccessful in that moment for the Kingdom. The goal of the enemy is to rob us of our identity and confidence to make us miss out on opportunities for impacting the Kingdom of God, and reaping the blessings of the Kingdom God has for us. I don’t want to miss out! However, in order to do that I must keep my eyes fixed on Jesus that I may be constantly reminded of who I am in Christ and my strengths that come from Him.
“Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). For the longest time, I only considered that verse as being relevant for Jesus or only for those that are actually persecuted. However, as I’ve experienced more and more life, I have realized this also applies when someone says something evil or untrue about you. This applies to any hurtful thing or expression, even your child’s rolling eyes or backtalk…anything from another person whether they know Jesus or not.
Our initial response may be to curse and condemn the action or even the person. In doing so, even if we never voice it out loud, we are choosing to represent the kingdom of darkness. “What the enemy meant for evil, God means for good and to bring life.” (Genesis 50:20 paraphrased)
The reality of the situation is that we probably find ourselves in that same place, but rather as the offender. Often, we say or do something that someone else interprets through their lens and takes offense, even though in our own hearts we had no intention or purpose of causing harm. If you’re married, this might resonate deeper. Knowing that you love your spouse unconditionally and they love you the same, have you ever said or done anything harmful that was unintentional? I have. My love for her is without compare, but I’m still a man, and a fallen man, that sometimes says the wrong thing with the right heart.
With that in mind, one of the best lessons we learned as a couple was from the book Love and Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs. He teaches that we both look through blue or pink lenses, like glasses, or hear through blue or pink headphones. Basically, we interpret what we see and what we hear differently. This same philosophy plays out in our everyday lives as we work, attend church, have a family, etc. We speak and hear through different lenses of the current culmination of our lives, past and present. So, the likelihood of someone hearing something different than what you meant is rather high.
As we live our lives, moving in and through community and our social circles, our work places, and even our own home, let us remember our call to purpose. We are called to give life to others, to encourage, to spur on, to equip, to uplift, to help move beyond, to meet Jesus daily. We are called to love, serve, and bless. By God’s design, these are the very things that give us life. If we want more moments of happiness, joy, pleasure, delight, and experiencing the presence of the Lord…we must call ourselves to operate out of Kingdom mindset and put others before ourselves.
I’ve found that one of my joys as a believer is in… “watching God free individuals through prayer from the effects of wounding and sin and delivering people from the snares and presence of demonic influence. It is done in overt, moment-by-moment partnership with God, who leads us into truth as He reveals lies believed in the past and present and their points of access, and removes them; establishes healing, blessings and obedience in their place; and restores individuals to relationship with Papa God and a more fruitful and fulfilling walk.” – Freedom Tools by Andy Reese and Jennifer Barnett, p. 28.
One of my deepest desires is to be a giver of life to everyone I meet. I want people to feel better about themselves after spending time with me, because I’m able to share the love of Christ, to spur that person on toward a deeper relationship with Christ that they may be fully satisfied and filled up, knowing their true identity in Him. And, in essence, sharing a piece of myself with them creating a bond uniting us in the community of the Kingdom of God and His church.
Do you have a desire to make a Kingdom impact on the world around you? Are we willing to show ourselves and others the necessary grace to walk in greater freedom? Are we willing to engage in community in order to have the support and encouragement to walk this journey well? We are all in this together and you are never alone.
May the Lord bless each of us with a greater sense of Himself and an awareness of His Kingdom around us and the hearts of those we come into contact with daily. And may our words be life-giving and sweet as honey to ourselves and others.