Most people do not realize the sheer power for good or for evil are the words which they allow to come out of their mouths.
Years ago while I was a very small boy, a neighbor carelessly and without any thought of harm said some negative words about me that for years had a profound impact upon my thinking. It has been a warning to me of the importance of being careful of the words I use to others. The negative words by this neighbor affected my self-image. It was some years later that I was able to put it aside. Someone has said, "You don't count your critics, you weigh them." When I came to realize that the neighbor was being foolish and careless in his comments, it had no longer had any relevance in my life.
A young college girl returned home for Christmas after only one semester in a large Midwestern university. It had been a very difficulty time for her, both academically and socially. Her grades were below par and she
had been placed on academic probation. Coming from a protective, conservative environment, totally surrounded by church people, she had no knowledge of the looseness and worldly sophistication of the moderns that populate our cities.
Lonely and afraid of peer rejection, she fell for a number of sinful temptations that went against her moral convictions. One morning shortly after returning home, she made an appointment with her pastor. She struggled with herself wondering how to get out the words of confession and her cry for help.
When she arrived at the church office, the pastor invited her in. "How's our pride and joy?" he inquired warmly. "It will be good to hear how you've been doing."
"I'm a mess," she blurted. Between liquor and sex, I can hardly stand myself!"
"What? You, the most stable and mature Christian girl in our church! You should be ashamed of yourself," he retorted. She leapt from her chair and ran out the door crying.
This insensitive pastor lost his opportunity to be redemptive the moment he demonstrated judgmentalism. His spontaneous outburst of rejection drove the girl completely away. She left the church entirely and turned to a group of self-styled intellectuals for her answers. She went further into sin. We have no record that she ever returned to God and the church.
"Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and healing to the bones" (Proverbs 16:24, NIV).
Yours for fulfilling the Great Commission each year until our Lord returns,
The late Dr. Bill Bright was Founder and President/Chairman Emeritus of Campus Crusade for Christ, an organization which began as a campus ministry in 1951 and now has more than 27,000 full-time staff and up to 500,000 trained volunteer staff in 196 countries in areas representing 99.6 percent of the world's population. In the past 50 years, Campus Crusade for Christ has seen approximately 6 billion exposures to the gospel worldwide. The film, "JESUS," which Bright conceived and funded through Campus Crusade for Christ, is the most widely translated and viewed film of any type ever produced. Since its use began in 1980, the film has been translated into 839 languages and viewed or listened to by over 5.7 billion people in 228 countries. Dr. Bright was also the author of more than fifty books. Visit campuscrusade.com for more details
Copyright (c) 2003, Bill Bright. All rights reserved. However, readers may copy and distribute this message as desired, without restrictions in number, as long as the content is not altered. Forwarding this e-mail to friends is encouraged. For many evangelistic and spiritual growth materials, visit the Campus Crusade for Christ Web site at ccci.org. See campuscrusade.com for Bill Bright's own materials.