I have always been a very sensitive person. Some would say overly-sensitive and I would have to agree. I'm not the type of person who can just shrug off the hurtful words someone just said. I am much better at getting over them now than I used to be, but they can still be painful to my spirit.
Over the past year or so I've really been thinking about how my words effect others and not even just my words, but how I say those words as well as the attitude I project. Because sometimes your attitude toward a person can be just as hurtful as your words.
A few things have happened over the past few weeks that have really brought this up in my mind again. I won't go into detail, but I've left places feeling like I've been treated worse than the dirt on the ground. Pete over at Without Wax also wrote a great post about this recently. (Just a side note you should really check out his sermons here. Plan B and Sync especially.) I've also read where things have been spread via the internet about people and caused pain for that person. Whether it's done in person or by electronic means, it's hurtful. And those words and attitudes can have a much more powerful impact than we may realize.
There are days when I get the joy and blessing of working with special needs children. I leave them and all I want to say to these hurtful people is , "You just don't get it do you?! Look at these precious little children who love unconditionally. Down the road is a mother wasting away from cancer. There's a little girl who can no longer walk because of a horrible disease!" I want to scream at them to get over themselves.
But I don't because it's not my way. I hate confrontation so I pretend to ignore it and then pray and do my best to let it go. Should I ignore it? Should I confront them about their attitude and just pay the consequences of the slanderous things they will probably say about me? I'm not to that point yet.
Why is it so much harder to ask someone something in a nice way than to get all angry with them? Do you stop to think that they just don't know what to do? The complaining and whining and downright hatefulness of people is wearing on my spirit.
I know encouraging words can build a person up, but I also think that hurtful words can do even more damage. It takes a lot more encouraging words to build up what hurtful words have torn down.
I was born with a melancholy soul and a very introverted personality. I work very hard at being a positive person and being around negativity can do one of two things. It can make you a negative person or it can squelch your spirit.
For me personally it's been a two way street when it comes to the learning about the power of words. I'm learning that I have to back away from some situations or places so that it doesn't squelch my spirit as well as learning to give it to God and let it go, but I'm also learning that I can also work harder on my words and the power they might have on people.
God convicted me about the tone with which I sometimes speak to those I come in contact with in my community. Often times when I'm in the grocery store or super store I'm lost in my own little world, trying to hurry and get the items on my list and get to the next place I have to be. It's not that I'm rude to the cashier or the bag boy, but I'm just caught up in my little universe. I forget that even though I do say thank you, a smile and a more pleasant tone could go a long way in making their day better. I've really been concentrating on watching my attitude in situations like this lately. Trying to be the encourager to strangers and not just to my friends and family.
I hope this didn't come across as too much of a rant. This has been pretty heavy on my heart and I knew I had to share it. My challenge to you is to watch your words carefully and try to give an encouraging word to those you come in contact with. You never know what a kind word can do for their spirit.