Like those three friends of Job, my lips part too often, words flowing without the wisdom to back them up. Critiquing. Accusing. Not a word of encouragement to be found. Not taking into account what the heart on the receiving end of my words needs to hear.
Could it be that those who receive my words have the love language of encouraging words, such that emails received and sentences spoken get rehashed time and time again? Might they store up my words? Make boxes for "Cards Worth Keeping" and online folders for "Emails Worth Saving"? Do words hold such weight for the receivers of my words?
If there is even a chance that the people on the receiving end of my words stores them up like I do, why do I not speak encouragement into their lives? Why not err more on the side of encouragement than discouragement?
I've heard that the enemy of gentleness isn't meanness; it's efficiency. After all, it takes time to be gentle. What if I took the time to think through my responses before I said them? What if I searched for encouraging words before I responded? What delight might be added to someone's day?
Negative feedback is readily available many places in this world, but it need not be on my lips. If I love others the way I need to be loved, I share a gift that doesn't cost a thing but can uplift, bring a smile, and hopefully point them toward the One Who has unlimited power to encourage. I just need to put some time into it. Because there's no telling how long my words might be weighed, and I want them to be the good kind worth saving.
[Ann Voskamp and Holly Gerth have challenged other bloggers to write a post about loving Jesus and others with our words, and the above is my attempt to respond to that assignment.]