planting seeds...
originally written 20 Feb 2001
added to first website 25 Feb 03
I was just thinking this morning of how we can "plant seeds" in other people.  Seeds of encouragement, but also seeds of discouragement.  A simple comment from us may brighten someone's day.  A simple comment also has the power to destroy another's self-image.  We have to be so careful of what our tongues are saying.  Maybe that's why the scriptures say so much about how we should speak to one another.  We are to build one another up, not tear down.  When someone is excited about something, why are we so quick to want to steal their joy?  If it's a good thing in their lives, then shouldn't we be excited with them...for them?  How often have I been guilty of stealing someone's joy?  More than I care to admit, I'm afraid. Another area of my life I am working on changing.  
We are taught that words can hurt.  At the same time, our society is filled to the brim with sarcasm, pessimism and hurtful attitudes.  We must guard the "doors" to our hearts and filter what we fill ourselves with.  "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things."  (Philippians 4:8)
There are too many verses that speak on this matter to quote them all.  I will list a few and you may look them up on your own, if you wish.  Words are very powerful...both to destroy and to build up.  We must not take this lightly.  These kinds of injuries that we inflict with our mouths take years to heal, if they heal at all.
Our culture feeds us a double standard now, but it wasn't always that way.  To quote a line from the children's movie, "Bambi"--"If you can't say somethin' nice, don't say nuthin' at all."  Not "proper English" but you get the drift.  : )  How very different things are today.  A verbal "free-for-all" exists all around us.  Not that there was never any verbal abuse before, to be sure, but it's so common now and too often accepted, even in the Christian community.  We who should know better!!  How can we be a "light in the darkness" if we keep attacking those we wish to reach?  Or attacking those we call brethren?  Is this love?  The truth must be revealed to the deceived but if we are harsh in our words and attitudes, who will listen?  
So many thoughts are still whirling around in my head on this matter.  Thank you for being patient and "listening" while I sort these things out.  I shudder at the realization of the hurt I may have caused to my own family with my words.  It's painful to acknowledge that, but, thank God I can see it!  Worse yet would be continuing on through this life, oblivious to the pain inflicted on those I love.  At least now I have a chance to work on the problem so I can make it stop.  It's definitely not easy.  It's a daily examination, to be sure.  No one is perfect but that doesn't mean we have to accept the things we have the ability to change!
I really need to wrap this up.  Before I stop, I'd better list those scriptures I was mentioning earlier.
Proverbs 10:19
Proverbs 12:18*
Proverbs 15:4
Proverbs 18:21
Proverbs 21:23
Proverbs 26:28
James 1:26
James 3:1-12
                   *Proverbs 12:18 is the one I will end with, since you might not have a chance to look these up right away.  "Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing."

An often reckless woman on a journey to find wisdom,
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photograph by: Shirley/Jun 2004
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