1 Thessalonians 5:19
“Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” We are all probably familiar with that little chant from our childhood. It is a good sentiment, an encouragement to stand up against criticism. But in fact this saying is false.
Not only will sticks and stones break your bones, but words can be very hurtful. They can leave an invisible scar that lasts a lifetime.
So, we should be cautious about the words we say to one another. We should choose carefully what we say to others. We may find that it is better to keep silent rather than risk criticizing someone and dousing the flame of passion they may have. Today’s passage sums it up very simply. What are we NOT to do?
In my years in ministry I have witnessed all too often good ministries come to a screeching halt because ONE PERSON doesn’t like it. It only takes a single negative comment to put the brakes on something positive.
And isn’t that just what the Devil wants? I believe he delights in the fact that it only takes one comment to derail a powerful ministry, one person to stand in the way of God’s work being done.
As we all progress through our journey of faith, adding goodness and knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, kindness and love, we need to remember that this journey is essential for us. We need to guard against becoming discouraged by the comments and actions of others. If we possess faith and goodness and knowledge and self-control we will be better equipped to ignore those detractors who want to stop us in our growth toward perfection.
But we also must be aware of others and how we treat them. We must guard against being a stumbling block for others who are making that journey of growth. We should offer encouragement rather than criticism, a sense of hope rather than a comment of gloom.
And when we see ministry being done – even if it is not a ministry we value – we should support it and understand that it comes from a God-inspired passion in others. If we can’t support the ministry, then at least we can remain silent and not put out the Spirit’s fire.
DAILY CHALLENGE: Is there a ministry that needs your encouragement? Are there negative comments you need to avoid?