Not too long ago someone told me words are meaningless. I argued back that words are never meaningless. All words mean something to someone. I was met with the response that words are meaningless where there is no understanding. Today, I am connecting with that reality.
Words seem inadequate. With so many louder voices than mine, I doubt my voice will be heard. With so many words being spoken, I question if mine will be understood. Though I've spent several days considering what words to use, none seem good enough. But words are what I have to give. What words can I offer that will matter most?
In her book, Hurt People Hurt People, Dr. Sandra Wilson explains all people have been hurt. And people who have not adequately healed from their hurt will hurt others. Victims become victimizers. Hence her title, Hurt People Hurt People.
With that in mind, I can't say I'm surprised by the current scene. People are hurting, so they are hurting. We are witnessing the impact of centuries of unresolved hurt. It is an overwhelming plight.
In spite of my feelings of inadequacy, here are a few words I have to offer. I hope they are not meaningless but are given in a way that provide understanding.
"To make an apt answer is a joy to a man, and a word in season, how good it is!" (Proverbs 15:23, ESV).
"A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit," (Proverbs 15:4, ESV).
"Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who live it will eat its fruits," (Proverbs 18:21, ESV).
"Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen," (Ephesians 4:29, NIV).
"Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing," (I Peter 3:9, NIV).
"A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of," (Luke 6:45, NIV).
I expect those who don't know better to behave beneath what is best. However, many of us who do know better, who even profess Christ, are failing to behave better. Rather than speaking life to our dying world, we seem more interested in honing our killing skills. Many appear to take great pride in biting and devouring. But we must be better.
I'm aware there is wrong being perpetrated upon humanity by humanity. I am not addressing how that horror should be confronted. I am addressing, however, the necessity for right behavior in the midst of chaos. I am clarifying our responsibility to offer hope to the hopeless. We must not regenerate hurt by contributing more hurt. If we all join the angry crowd, who, then, will be the light? We must be life gifters.
I hope my message is loud and clear. It would be my joy to know my words are an apt reply and in season. It is my intent to speak with a gentle tongue rather than break your spirit. I hope the fruit of my mouth is palatable. I've tried to offer you wholesome, helpful, and beneficial words. I hope I've been a blessing rather than an insult, that I've spoken life instead of death, and that you recognize words from a heart full of goodness not evil. I hope what I have said is meaningful—that you have understood.
I want to be an agent for positive change. I want the world to be better, but a better world begins with me. If I want the world to change, I have to be the first to change.
I think, now more than ever, we all need a few lessons in the art of life gifting. The best teacher is Jesus. He is the ultimate Life Gifter.