Thursday, August 13, 2009. “Faith in Action” touches important basic questions. How do we live faith? What do we do when we believe in Jesus, in God? Today we have added another keyword: “words”. How does faith influence how we speak?
The words we speak reflect our thoughts. Usually, we cannot hide our thoughts for long. When we have negative thoughts about someone, we will tell our environment. There is no other way. We might be able to control ourselves for a short period of time, perhaps for one meeting or for some days. But I have never met someone who would have been able to completely shield his or her thoughts from their consequences, and the first thing which happens is usually that the words we speak reflect our thinking.
But words have a strong influence on the people around us. What we say influences things much more than we usually realize. One careless sentence by a parent can influence the life of a child for decades. One careless sentence by a teacher can do a lot of damage. One careless sentence by a fellow worker or by someone in the group can destroy many possibilities in the future. Our words have a lot of power. They do not always directly reach a particular goal, but they build up our environment. They are like clear or dirty water which we drink on a daily basis.
I still remember things which were said by other students in primary school about me. I remember very encouraging sentences, and some very destructive words. Yes, after nearly 30 years I still remember some of them as if they had been spoken yesterday. But this does not only apply to children. As adults we work in our business - and we all need encouragement. The rewards in some jobs are given in terms of money, when we work well we get some bonus. But mostly, rewards are given in terms of words. Someone says: “I appreciate your work very much”, or “you are very competent” or “you did a good job here!”. That is encouraging. I do not want to repeat negative examples - you will probably know enought of them yourself.
Faith will change our words. I do not believe that this is done directly. I think it works about thinking and emotions. We need to adopt the way in which Jesus thinks, then our words will also change. But when we live with him in a sincere way, we cannot stay the same. We will start to find words of foregiveness, words of mercy, words of understanding. We will start to look one step deeper. We will be able to let our enemy go, and bless him. We will be able to give things to the others, even if it means that we have less. And we will pray for our neighbors, our friends and enemies likewise. This will definitely change our words which we speak about them and to them.
There are, though, little excercises which can help us to develop. Try to find all the good things you can say about some other person. Then formulate them in nice and convincing sentences. Practice the culture of wisdom, the culture of “helpful words”, the culture of “truth and mercy”. How can you reflect the character of some person in truth and still be full of mercy and understanding? How can you find a good future for this particular person? Start to pray for him or her, then first practice secretly and when you are well equipped with good words, then go public (into your family, your colleagues or friends, the larger environment)! ... more texts