Kids tend to make people the punchlines of their jokes.
They often grow-up, but don’t grow out of it. The jokes may take different set-ups, forms, or turns… but people still end up battered on the other end. Their bruises covered by laughter.
In highschool, I was blessed with a positive influence. My youth pastor, Brian, made it our mantra that we would not tear each other down, but that our job was to build each other up.
Whenever we said something negative about someone else, we had to apologize and list three things we liked about that person- and the mantra would be spoken again “Build Each other up.”
Life is hard, why make it harder for each other? We have the power to tear down and the power to build up. Why not stand together to make the burden lighter?
How are you using your voice?
As I get older the challenge has changed.
Instead of redeeming negative comments with positive ones, I should be keeping my mouth shut before I say anything negative in the first place.
Bob Goff shared that every time he says something critical to another person he logs into his bank account and gives away $500. He said this helps him stop and think, “Do I really want to say this, or would I rather take my sweet Maria on a trip?”
Most of the time he picks a trip with his wife, keeps his mouth shut, and instead focuses on speaking words of “life and encouragement.”
This is the next step… Speak life and encouragement into others without prompting.
I want to live my life as an encourager… a builder.
This is especially important in my marriage. As a wife, my sole job is to be a helper and encourager to my husband.
As a wife, I get to see the worst side of my husband, but I am called to be his greatest cheerleader despite it. This is oxymoronic, but that paradox gives it even greater power.
Knowing his faults, yet respecting, loving, encouraging, and believing in him anyways is what makes it mean more.
As I try to master being an encouragement to my husband, I need to let that habit flow into all of my relationships.
What would it be like if we used our words to build instead of tear down?
Build up our family, friends, leaders, servers, or the next generation.
I think we will find that a kind word goes much farther than a critical one.
Is it easier for you to speak negatively or positively about others? Is there someone you are specifically speaking life into during this season of your life? Who do you know that could use some life-giving words right now?
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
-1 Thessalonians 5:11
The wise woman builds her house,
but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.