I was struck today by the power of simple words of encouragement. As you may realize, most of the time these kinds of reminders come in the simplest forms. So it was today.
I was folding some T-shirts that had dried in the warm Brazilian air. And as I was folding my T-shirts, the words of my wife echoed in my head. A few weeks before she died, I was doing the same chore… folding my T-shirts, and she made the simple comment, “You fold those so nice and narrow.” It was a simple statement, but now eighteen months after her death, her words come to my mind. Seven simple words. She could have told me I wasn’t doing it right. She could have said I need to do it a different way, but she simply said she like the way I folded them “nice and narrow.” Simple positive words that actually come to my mind every time I fold my T-shirts.
How easy it is for us to forget the power of our words. Especially if we happen to be task oriented kind of people. We have a certain way of doing things, we know how things need to be done, and we have no problem telling other people how they should handle this or that task to be more efficient. And in our desire to “do things right” we often miss the golden opportunities to enrich someone’s life. Countless stories are told my people who had just one teach in school who spoke encouraging words to them and made all the difference in the direction of their lives. The simple power of encouraging words.
Scripture is full of reminders of this. Proverbs 25:11 tells us, A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold In settings of silver. (NKJV) Paul reminds us in Philippians 4:8-9 (NKJV) Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy–meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you. Even the Lord Himself is an example of this. Psalm 85:8 (NKJV) states: I will hear what God the LORD will speak, For He will speak peace To His people and to His saints;
Every once in a while it is good for us to stop and take inventory or our lives. How is it with your words? Are you speaking words of encouragement to those around you? Are you focusing on things that are true, and noble, and pure, and lovely, and praiseworthy as you relate to your co-workers and your family? As you speak to the clerk in the grocery store? You never know what effect simple words of encouragement can have in the lives of those you encounter.