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Sunday, September 29, 2013

Carefully Choosing Words to Bless

Sometimes the most important thing that happens when someone delivers a message from the Lord and this person isn't the preacher. The words, "I have been praying for you," can go a long way toward bringing someone into God's will, increasing faith and encouraging that person to walk one more day. Those words may be more important than the words of praise which are sung later in the worship service. They may certainly mean more to the person who hears them and they also may be a greater praise to God than the offering we bring.

Yet, there are those who think that their words can be caustic and self-serving without any consequences. They do not know that our words can bring light into our souls but they can also shut out the light. They do not know that you can't use your words to stand on the back of others in order to "be" taller. Maybe that's why gossip is listed among some of the worst sins. The person using his words to "curse" others is far from God.

Sunday after Sunday members greet each other in church. They generally go to their friends and say something about the weather, a sporting event or some recent activity each has participated in. The person with the unfamiliar or downward face is avoided. These are the lepers of the church. No one should have to touch them, right? The members do not know what it would mean if someone would say something more than perfunctory. What would happen if someone would just make a point of meeting this person after the service and take an interest in him?

I don't think we realize that we cannot bless God without blessing others and we bless God when we bless others. We don't seem to make the connection.

What would happen if we started to notice our words? What changes would take place within us if we made a commitment to say nothing but good things to and about people for a week? How often would we have to check our tongues before we said something we shouldn't? What if that included our responses to others who said bad things about us? How would we be perceived?

I must admit that I am under conviction about my tongue. I have used it to bless God and curse others. As James says, "These things ought not to be so."

What about you? How is your tongue?

James 3:9-10 (ESV)
9 With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. 10 From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.


Anonymous said...

Groan. I was just thinking about my words (and my attitude) this morning. Apparently, so was God.

Thanks. And may the Lord bless you, and your words, this morning.


Anonymous said...

This we read from Ps Prentis' entry: I don't think we realize that we cannot bless God without blessing others and we bless God when we bless others. We don't seem to make the connection.

When we replace "bless" in the above, with "love", it sounded just like in 1 John 4:20-21 which tells us that we cannot be claiming to be loving God when we are loving NOT our brothers.  When we love one, that would have to include we bless him/her, would it not be? Yes, it would be.  We want the one we love to be in bliss.  But do we really love? Many of us are just mouthing love, or love in words only.  It will not do, said the Word.  We need to love in deeds.  

To give out any encouraging word or word of hope is not mere word of love when we sincerely release it after taking the trouble to notice another is downcast.  It can be the starting of expression of love.  We really have to be sincere, for example, when we say, "I have been praying for you", it must be really be that we have done that; the person may not know you are lying, but God knows.  When we say, "I WILL be praying for you", mean it, and do it; again God knows when you said it and do not do it. 

Also important is this, that we do NOT just wish someone "well" when it is just empty words.  The Apostle James said this, in James 2:15-16 - 

15 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?

Too many of us, and that includes me, too, still lack so much, in compassion and love, that we so commonly ignore the plight of others in need of a word of comfort or a word of hope, and a rendering of aid, whether in prayers or in meeting their physical needs.  We often do NOT put ourselves in the shoes of the afflicted ones.  We so very often, do NOT stop for another.  The story of the Good Samaritan in the Bible is one important story that we should always keep in mind.  Don't be like the two men before the Good Samaritan, just passed by the downtrodden man.  Ps Prentis has given us the picture that we may not need to look far, just in church, there are "downtrodden" men or women; do we stop for them, or do we just pretend we do NOT see them?

If we are NOT in a position to help in their physical needs, the least we can do, is to take notice, release comforting words, pray or promise to pray (ah! Make sure you keep your promise, the Lord witnesses your promise).  

Church pastors themselves should take the lead; at the end of each service, the senior pastor should announce that pastors are available to pray for people, and have the pastors on duty to be present at the sanctuary front.  I serve in this capacity for more than 5 years, along with pastors in my church, I strongly recommend this.  If you do not have many pastoral staff, ministry leaders can fill the gaps (it may even be better, if you could minister and pray for people during the service, say, after or at the end of the praise and worship segment of the liturgy of the service).

Anthony Chia, high.expressions