After effects

A few days ago, this blog, Talk Kindness To Me, passed the 200th post. (  Since this is a repost from April, 2013, there are now close to 400 posts, and my goal has not changed. The goal from day one was to do just as the title suggests, speak only encouraging words and counteract the effects of bullying, which is common today. Maybe I’m wrong about this, but I think there are ways to communicate any message, even reprimands, with an undercurrent of support. The words we use are often impetuous, spoken without consideration of the lingering effect.  I remember being part of an object lesson when a teacher had each of us pound spikes into a  wall.  Then he had us remove the spikes showing big blemishes and scars on the wall.  I still remember the battered wall and how it looked after a dozen kids blasted it with nails, hammers, and claws. He asked us for our opinion on how we would fix the wall and you can imagine our answers.  “That’s crazy.  You can’t fix that wall.  It’s ugly. It’s too big of a mess now. That looks pitiful. You will need a new wall.”
I am always touched when I read the 34th Psalm. Something about the message affects the way I see things. You can read it here Psalm 34, but doesn’t this resonate with the lesson of the spikes and damaged wall? “Come children! Listen to me! Do you want to really live? I teach you! Would you love to live a long, happy life? Then make sure you don’t speak evil words or use deceptive speech! Turn away from evil and do what is right! Strive for peace and promote it!” You know where I’m going with this story so use your imagination to fill in the remaining lesson.  The teaching moment – Words spoken in anger make scars. Lies are the source of deep wounds. There is always the healing process, but some blemishes will remain. The point the teacher was trying to make was this. Think before you speak and think before you act because there will be consequences with lingering effects.
Now what about this? Nobody is perfect. No matter hard we try, we’re going to mess up.  We’re going to be angry, we might even act angry.  We will get irritated, or impatient, or worse – both; at the same time; when we’re tired; when we’re beat down ourselves. If that doesn’t  describe your day today, it could be tomorrow. Don’t worry about that now though. Today is what we have to work with.  The past is the past.  Forgive yourself – and if you need to ask someone to forgive you, take care of that too. Today, let’s make the most of our day remembering that we can make a difference one attitude at a time.  Colossians 4:2-6 “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. “
So let’s start right about here, right about now. “Lord, please help me exude peace, not animosity.  Let me speak words of encouragement always. Amen”

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Refining Grace