My balcony faces a utility easement that doubles as a walking trail as well. Very nicely laid out and paved. You almost forget its a utility easement for megawatt high power lines when you’re on the walking trail. It’s almost like having to stand back from the trees to see the forest, if you will.
Sitting on my balcony the other day, kind of zeroed in my attention on the hi-line tower near by. You’ve seen such a thing, a big monstrous thing made out of metal that looks like an erector set. You know, I’m always doing this, dating myself. I don’t think that exists anymore, erector sets. Kids today are not impressed if it doesn’t have a screen with lots of lights and connected to the internet. But of course, in my day that would be a real coup to have an erector set! You get the idea though, this tower helps to shoulder the load of these heavy cables that carry electricity further down the line.
What I noticed in looking at this hi-line tower was what was placed on the very top. On the top was a whole array of communication antennas. These antennas serve to carry and repeat a signal for cellphones. What a great idea for dual service, the tower can carry electricity and communication signals.
All of this got me to thinking about how we communicate with others.
There is power in what we speak to one another. We don’t always take notice of how our words can affect others. What we say has a power behind it that we seem to take for granted. Our words can have deep and lasting effects on those we communicate with. The words come out of our mouths, but there is an unseen power behind them that prop them up.
In Ephesians 4:29 we’re told, “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” This tells us there is a real power in what we say to others. What we say has the power to build someone up, to provide a portion of God’s grace to that person.
I know for myself, too often I have spoken words that later I wish I could have taken back. I feel the weight of my guilt over having castigated someone, or having called their self-esteem into question. Once the words are out, you can’t take them back. Yes, we can always apologize sincerely, but the sting of the words still hangs in the other person’s psyche. This is where in James 1:19 we are cautioned, “let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.” When we let our emotions rule our mouths, our hearts have a tendency to ache later. God seems to be providing me opportunity every day to learn to regulate my speech. To question if what I have to say is necessary. Are my words positive to someone, or cutting and negative? If my words do not have the intention to build up, should I speak them at all? So much to think about before I open my mouth. I guess that’s why my daddy always told me there was a reason why God gave me two ears and one mouth.
In the world we live in, it seems it has become de rigueur to speak one’s mind on all sorts of things. This has made our current state of discourse so abysmal. We have people lining up to speak their mind without giving a second thought to how those words may affect others. Seemingly not caring who gets hurt, whose self-esteem gets trampled, who feels the lash of hate or being unacceptable.
We have to find our way back to a kinder and gentler society, as President George H.W. Bush once recommended to us. Do we want our heritage, our legacy to be one where we have left bruised and battered persons in the wake of our rhetoric? Or, would we want others to seek to be in our presence because they know they will find comfort, acceptance, love, grace, humility in our words?
In Colossians 3: 8, we’re told “But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.” What would it look like if every word we spoke was a word of peace, a word of love, a word of encouragement, a word of acceptance? Those are the words I long to hear from others. If I long for them, then I’m thinking others are too. We need positive affirmations in our lives, and the words of others can provide that. When I die, I want it to be said that I was an encourager in my speech to others. I want it said words of love are what came from my mouth. I want it said persons felt better and affirmed after hearing what I had to say.
Back to the hi-line tower in my balcony’s view. The communication array sits atop the power array. What does that illustrate for me? Every word I speak is undergirded with power. My words matter to those I speak them to. I should carefully choose how I speak, for what I say impacts others. And everyone I speak to IS a child of God, how I speak to them should reflect how I speak to God. If I wouldn’t say it to God, what right do I have to say it to God’s child? How simple can it be? We can make our corner of the world a place where others feel affirmed by merely regulating our words. No monetary costs involved, only the cost of caring about the God who lives in our neighbor.
May our words be spoken as if they matter to others…because they do.
Blessings and Peace,