Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Empty Words

Think before you speak. How many times have your parents or teachers or SOMEBODY said those words to you? I, personally, have always had an uncontrollable small problem with this. But this week.......this week, I have been reminded of the importance of that sentence.

On Sunday, the youth group was going to do a homeless outreach, but I woke up that morning and realized I had forgotten to go to Sams to get the food we usually hand out. And besides that fact, it was like 100 degrees already and I couldn't imagine tromping around downtown Wichita in that heat (not that the weather should stop me from doing the work of God). So I decided instead to do a lesson and postpone handing out food and drinks to the homeless until next week. I wasn't sure what I was going to teach on, but last week, God had been laying a verse on my heart that I had memorized at one point in my life. The verse says this:

Ephesians 4:29-"Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs that it may benefit those who listen."

I decided to teach on that and found a few other verses that went along with it. During my lesson, I said something that I hadn't planned to say and hadn't really thought about until it popped out of my mouth.

How many of the hundreds of words you speak every day are empty?

A friend of mine from high school recently committed suicide. We hadn't talked in years other than an occasional "hello" on facebook. But as I spoke that sentence, my mind started thinking, "What is the last thing I said to Clifton?" I couldn't remember. And at that point, it didn't matter that we weren't best friends or that I hadn't actually SEEN him since we graduated high school. A person that I grew up with felt that his life was so miserable, he had to end it.

How many of the words that people spoke to him were empty?

How many of the words HE said to others were just going through the motions and had no meaning? It breaks my heart to think of how alone and sad and desperate for peace he must have felt in his last moments. And this made me go back to Ephesians 4:29--was I speaking words that were building people up? Was I meeting their needs with my words? I have said this before in my blog, but I'm not an extremely empathetic person. I have a hard time being sympathetic with people if I feel that the situation is in any way something they could change or something that they caused for themselves. I am trying to work on this and so far.......have not done very good :) But the devastation that came with this week and the death of a young and vibrant person really hit home. You never know how your words can affect somebody. I can only pray to God that my lack of empathy towards people has never made anyone feel the way he felt and that the people I love KNOW they can come to me for anything.

At Clifton's funeral, the pastor said that there were no words he could say to comfort the family--nothing we say is going to make things better. But I hope they found small comfort from the words of love that everybody spoke about him. Why.......WHY can't we always have wholesome talk coming out of our mouths? WHY do we let Satan dictate what we're saying sometimes? The Bible says numerous times that the tongue is a sword and what a horrible weapon it is.

 Clifton, I wish so badly I could remember what our last REAL conversation was. Did I say nice things to you? I hope so. Did I let you know how much I appreciated your friendship and your presence at church and youth group? I hope so. I challenge everyone to remember Ephesians 4:29. Are the words you're speaking serving a purpose? Are they meeting someone's needs? Are your words empty?

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