”He doesn’t walk very good, does he?” Thumper said of the newborn fawn.
”Thumper!” Mrs Rabbit exclaimed to her son.
”Yes, mama?” Thumper respectfully inquired.
”What did your father tell you this morning?” Thumper’s mother asked.
”If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothing at all.”
Wise words spoken from a wise father rabbit, but wait didn’t the apostle Paul pen similar words?
“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. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other just as in Christ God forgave you.” Ephesians 4:29-32 NIV
Sometimes that’s easier said than done. Trust me I know. I got caught up in one such incident just this morning. And then, just last night I was complaining to my husband that people need to think before they talk, they need to investigate the full and complete story surrounding all incidents before weighing in on their opinion. Then this morning I hit the send button before I checked into the complete story because I felt I was justified in saying it. And ya know what? Once you hit that send button there is no way to take it back. It has been sent into the world of cyberspace.
Paul cautions us to speak only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. How dare Paul step on my toes! If only I could do this. I pray for the day when every word I say would benefit all around me.
I use to help my daughters in cheerleading. Building pyramids and lifting flyers and flyers trusting their bases, those are dangerous things and everyone needs to be on top of their game. And what I noticed while watching the girls interact with each other, when they pointed fingers at another cheerleader, well the stunt just wouldn’t go up. But when they got their eyes off what others were doing wrong and focused on what they themselves could do right, well the stunt began to build on a firm foundation. And then when they added a dose of encouragement on top of all that, well the pyramid rose high. The flyer held her balance and the bases eased the load of another.
Isn’t that the role of us as Christians? To build the kingdom of God? To edify and lift up other people?
I agree, Paul’s words sting. They pierce deep into our souls, but when we get our eyes off what other people are doing wrong, and focus on what we ourselves can do right, and then add a heaping dose of encouragement onto it, well by Jove I think God’s kingdom will advance.