Cowell-Like or Christ-Like?
If you're like millions of television viewers, you've seen Simon Cowell, the infamous acid-tongued judge on American Idol. The contestants audition for the show, and America chooses who will win the coveted title. But, it seems that the audience waits in anticipation mostly for Cowell's comments. Sometimes, the contestants leave the stage humiliated and in tears; others leave enraged or embarrassed.
I've discovered that the childhood rhyme, "Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me" just isn't true. Words can hurt! You can see the pain in the faces of the contestants on American Idol as their performances are criticized. The same holds true in our lives -- you can see it in the faces of your family and friends when the wrong words come out of your mouth.
On one hand, words can be one of the most powerful sources of encouragement, instruction, and praise. On the other hand, they can cause a flood of destruction that leaves people devastated in their wake. Solomon was right when he said, "Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit" (Proverbs 18:21). So what kind of fruit does your mouth produce?
On average, a person opens his or her mouth to speak approximately 700 times per day. That's enough words to fill a fifty-page book. Think about this ... the words you utter over the course of a lifetime could fill up three volumes of books! Your words can either bless and encourage a person or tear them down. Jesus said, "For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned" (Matthew 12:37). Constructive, loving speech is essential in order for relationships to flourish. Here are some things to consider: words sung in a lullaby will put a baby to sleep; gentle words can calm a crying child; eloquent words can frame a nation's morality; encouraging words can fan the genius of a Rembrandt. As believers, one element should permeate our speech: love. Paul said we should be concerned with "speaking the truth in love" (Ephesians 4:15).
If someone were to tune into your life like a TV show, what would they hear? Do your words carry the harsh criticism of a Simon Cowell or do they have the tender healing power of Jesus Christ? Today, examine your heart and your lips and ask God to help you "to speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men." (Titus 3:2).
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