I have become increasingly aware of destructive words used in everyday conversation.
I'm not talking about any person or group in particular, but in general. Human words can cut deeply, leave emotional scars and cause broken relationships. Conversely, God's words, in the Bible or spoken to believers through the Holy Spirit, can soak deep into our spiritual souls, can heal any hurt we have and can mend all relationships.
King David expressed it best and captures my heart's desire in Psalm 19:14: "Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer."
Even though this is one of my life verses, I sometimes find myself on the other side of the prayer by using words that hurt and discourage instead of edify.
Even though I don't always attain my goal, I like to edify others. I sometimes jokingly refer to myself as California Southern Baptists' CEO - chief encouraging officer.
It is important in these days of change and uncertainty to be a voice of encouragement. Certainly if one reads or listens to much news, no matter the source, one begins to wonder if there is any good news to be found.
I sometimes think of how I want to be remembered. The first thing that comes to mind almost always is as an encourager: someone who always saw the good traits and characteristics in others and let them know.
So, I surround myself with God's Word which instructs me how to act in order to point others to Him. Coming to mind is Matthew 12:33-37 when Jesus was speaking to the Pharisees and said: "Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit ... . For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks ... . But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned."
Those are convicting and powerful words to live by for sure. Let me remind myself and encourage you to be an ambassador for Christ so that He will be known. One of the best ways to do that is to follow the admonition of the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 4:29: "Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers."
May it be as together we reach California for Christ.