Healing Words Part 2

Table of contents for Healing Words

  1. Healing Words
  2. Healing Words Part 2

Reading Level: Leisurely

Recent events in the US Open were a good illustration of the harm that quickly comes to people on both ends of a conversation through a careless moment with one’s words.

It made headlines the last few days of the US Open (tennis) when a few careless words in an attempt to joke brought great offense to another athlete, visibly hindering his play in the quarters and semifinals. We began following the sport a few years ago when we watched Wimbledon with a visiting friend. Commentators mentioned that medical staff for the players avoid giving many details on injuries; this seems logical as it would give an advantage to the opponent. When Andy Roddick was asked in an interview about his strategy for an upcoming match with Novak Djokovic’, he made a careless remark implying that Djokokvic’ had so many injuries that he would be easy to beat. We, ourselves, were startled at the words, as one of the things we’ve appreciated about the sport is an apparent higher level of conduct than in most sports; in pre and post games interviews that we’ve seen, it is standard that the athletes always compliment their opponents. Though Roddick later stated that the remark was only a joke, the offense soon made international headline news.

Most of us are fortunate enough that are words are not publicized by the press, but the results of such a remark paint a clear portrait for us. It was an opportunity in which immense character could have been displayed by the offender.

Djokovic’ and his family were deeply offended by the remark and his normal, fighting spirit was no where to be found in his last match of the Open; one could see a visible oppression on his spirit. We all fail, at times, with our words. Scripture says that, otherwise, we would be perfect people–meaning if we were so disciplined as to perfectly control our words, we would be perfect in all other areas of our lives as well. Unfortunately, Americans are known for frequently causing insult while attempting humor. Personally, I would rather that Roddick have gone a step further than just saying the careless, insulting words were a joke and have brought quick resolution to the whole situation by a simple apology. It leaves a memorable impression on people’s lives when you display such character as to apologize for words that were unintentionally offensive; it shows that you have enough value for other people to bring resolution, as well as a high commitment to personal responsibility by correcting mistakes from a moment of carelessly chosen words.

Unknown to most people, careless words create a permanent legacy, even in the spiritual realm.

Though most of us have the tendency to laugh off or excuse the mistake of our careless words, Jesus gave an unusually harsh warning as to the eternal effect of careless words.

But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned (Mt. 12:36,37)

Few people ever realize that their eternal position before God will largely be based on their careless words.

The guideline for our every word is to be based on its benefit.

I’ve always appreciated this quote for the clear standard it gives us for our 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…( Eph 4:29,30).

Your relationships, your reputation, and your eternal position before God are greatly enhanced by a commitment to avoid careless words and only speak what it helpful. Notice a couple of main points:

1. Make it a personal standard to gear your conversation around what is helpful to the needs of the people you are talking to or about.

2. Make a personal commitment that what you say is beneficial to anyone who may overhear your comment. (We should have all learned that one from the video clips of politicians who didn’t realize their mics were still on.)

3. By keeping in mind that careless words actually grieve the Spirit of God, our motivation will be boosted to be disciplined with our words.

Lastly, people’s opinion of you is greatly elevated when you are known for gracious words.

One last illustration from the sports world. The world’s two top tennis players in recent years, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, have not only the typical fan following, but have won widespread notice and respect worldwide due to the consistency to be gracious in their words. Their discipline to be gracious in their words and attitudes is so outstanding that reports on their athletic abilities almost always include mention their exceptional level of graciousness as well. It is a trait that is rarely seen in our world, and when someone is disciplined enough to be consistently gracious in their words, the world takes notice.

Be a person people want to respect and remember because you are known for consistency in the graciousness of your words.

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