while this generation is playing XBOX, candy crush, or their favourite iPhone app, i'm sitting here reminiscing about the good ole days when we used to sit around the table and play board games. games like monopoly. risk. hungry hippo. scrabble. [insert your favourite game here].
remember clue? colonel mustard? miss scarlet? the conservatory?
i was baffled by the weapons mentioned in that game. i understood the revolver and knife thing; i could even make sense of the rope and the pipe, but the candlestick? i still can't wrap my mind around it. you better watch out; i'm gonna kill you with this ... tiny flame? and maybe, if you're lucky, hit you over the head after with this long piece of wax, even though the wrench [?] would make for a better option, or the revolver a quicker one.
of course, if the game were invented now, we'd have a whole slew of weapons we could add to the list. chainsaws. machetes. bombs. poison ...
what? our tongue? that's more absurd than a candlestick!
maybe. but while weapons have the power to take someone's life, a tongue has the power to kill one's self-esteem and damage their spirit.
proverbs 18:21 tells us that "the tongue has the power of life and death". in other words, what we say has the power to 1) tear down, or 2) build up.
1) [don't] tear down.
if your tongue was made of glass, would you watch what you say?
what if i told you that the words that you speak can cut any way?
yes, sticks and stones may break our bones, but names and words will hurt us, too.
i've been the subject of some pretty harsh words lately, and let me tell you that it takes a lot of work to combat what people say sometimes. there have been days like yesterday where all i keep reminding myself of is that famous "it's not the critic that counts" quote by teddy roosevelt. [if you haven't heard it, i suggest you look it up]. the truth is, there will always be critics. there will always be those people in our lives - or outside of them - who can't help but stick their nose in our business and critique anything and everything we say and do, people who misunderstand you, are jealous of you, or are driven by insecurity and have nothing better to do than make themselves feel better by putting you down.
truth be told, no matter how 'strong' you are, it is incredibly difficult to stop a negative word from affecting you. think about that the next time you're tempted to use your tongue as a weapon. [as always, i'm speaking to myself here, too].
2) [do] build up.
i know, i know. encouraging someone can be awkward and uncomfortable, but we have to be intentional about doing it any ways.
when's the last time someone looked you in the eye and spoke life into you? sent you a text saying how much you mean to them? wrote you a letter [a lost art] and let you know what they see in you?
for those who can recall the last time, how did it make you feel? like you were on top of the world, right? don't you want the people around you to feel the same way?
and for those of you can't remember the last time somebody encouraged you, you need to find different friends. kidding. but for real though, start today by encouraging yourself [YOUR words have power, too], and then move on to encouraging someone else.
the world would be a much better place if we all stopped using our tongues as weapons and started building each other up instead.
so what are you waiting for? get out there and encourage someone today!