Living Well

March 16, 2010

Do your words cut like a knife?

Filed under: character,Personal Leadership — dlneidert @ 8:54 am
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The adage “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never harm me” is a lie.  There is a commercial I see occasionally on television.  It never ceases to capture my attention and make my heart race.  The commercial shows only a mouth speaking phrases like, “You’re stupid;” “You’ll never amount to anything;” “I don’t know why I bother with you;” “I wish you were never born….”  Words, careless words do in fact injure and wound people just as sticks and stones do break bones.  The problem is you cannot see the broken “bones” of the spirit caused by this constant battering.  Cher’s pop song, “If I Could Turn Back Time,” blasts a melody that should remind us of our speech when she sings, “Words are like weapons, they wound some times.”  So while the bruises from sticks and stones may heal over a few weeks, careless and harsh words can cause a person to bleed internally for a lifetime.

The way we speak reveals a good deal about us personally.  While we may not talk or comment in the ways seen on the commercial I described, we may do just as much damage if we share in gossip, rumors, or regularly engage in conversations that continue stereotypes of gender, race or ethnicity.  The tone of one’s voice, clothed in sarcasm or mocking is like a weapon….it carries a barb that deeply pierces another person’s soul.

Jesus challenged a crowd that gathered near him by observing, “Out of the same mouth come both blessings and curses.  It should not be so.”  The Proverbs writer also instructs “reckless words pierce like a sword.”  The careless word is like an uncontrolled missile.  Its power is devastating, inflicting pain and suffering on everyone near its point of impact.

Jesus also said, “But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken.”  What if you were on trial for your life solely on the basis of what you said to or about others?  How would you survive a trial for your life if it was based on your words alone, spoken to those around you or who are in relationship to you?  If we were on trial for our lives by what we said, I believe we would surely think before we open our mouths in hurt, gossip, rumor, or other ways that inflict pain on others. 

Today challenge yourself to think about how you normally respond to those closest to you, like colleagues, neighbors, friends, and loved family members.  Do you support them, encourage them, and give a healing word or are their encounters with you full of venom, sarcasm, and deflecting the weapons of hurtful words?

Blessings for you today…”May the words of your mouth be pleasing….” Grace and peace.

David Neidert


March 2, 2010

Storing Goodness

Filed under: character,Personal Leadership — dlneidert @ 7:56 pm
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We easily recognize most fruit trees.  Apple, orange, and pear trees are quickly categorized by the fruit hanging from their branches.  Whether we live in the United States, Europe or the Far East, we can spot an apple tree when it is laden with fruit. I have traveled into the rural areas of India and can tell when I see an orange tree because I am familiar with the fruit; I recognize its outward sign that this tree is an orange bearing tree and not an apple tree.

Human beings are no different.  We can identify a person in our minds and hearts by what they do.  And if we categorize a person as good, the beauty of their behavior is the trademark—the outward sign–of how we know them.  American writer, Harry Allen Overstreet said it like this, “Goodness is a special kind of truth and beauty.  It is truth and beauty in human behavior.”

Goodness is not just behavior, but a chosen life attitude.  In goodness, we work at benefiting others and our communities.  We benefit others when we promote, minister to, assist, and serve people out of deepest character and values.  Goodness does not focus on control, opposition, or obstructing another person’s path, but seeks to act in ways that will promote their welfare and prosperity.

Jesus observed, “The good person brings good things out of the good stored in them.” As Jesus said, good comes from stored good.  Stored good is an attitude, based on continuously repeated action that can be drawn out in any circumstance.  Goodness stored in our souls is accumulated over time just as small deposits placed in a bank account can produce great wealth in time.  We are then able to display goodness when we tap these reservoirs pooled at the core of our beings.  Storing goodness is like saving money—it is a choice to act regularly in ways that will benefit in the future.  

Goodness is identifiable, just like fruit, no matter where you travel.  Goodness coupled with respect could be the core of diplomacy and world citizenship if we just practiced and behaved in ways that identified this fruit purposely stored in us.  But if we haven’t been storing it, goodness will not be available when needed.  I’ve traveled enough around the globe to see goodness shared between people of different cultures; it is a language of dignity that fosters fellowship and relationship as human beings.

Blessings to you as you consciously choose to store good in your life.  May you find in it grace and peace and relationship.

David Neidert

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