The greatest impact you can have on another person is in the words you speak to them. In one sentence you can condemn. In one breath you can encourage. His or her outcome for a day can turn up or down based solely on what you have said.
In 1722, a message could take a month to travel 500 miles and its arrival was uncertain. Written by hand, it lacked the advantages of facial expression and eye contact. By 1822, letters arrived more quickly but with the same disadvantages. Traveling to see someone was still a major undertaking and a rare event. By 1922, that 500 miles could be bridged by telephone in a minute or crossed by car or train in 24 hours. In 2022, we can Zoom or FaceTime in seconds with all of the advantages of a personal visit except a physical hug or kiss. In most of world history, this is extraordinary!
Books are just a collection of words. Yet, consider the power they convey. The first 847 pages of my Bible are mainly about rules and consequences. The other 247 pages are about love and caring. Both use about 1,000 common words but oh, how those same words convey a different feeling. One testament says, “Do not kill (one another)”; the second says “Love one another”. The former is practical, while the latter is profound and quite moving.
As my father left Dallas for World War II, his mother said, “Come back with your shield or on it.“ As he left for the Korean War, my mother, his wife, said, “Come back to my arms, my darling.“ One was a call for valor; the other was an embrace. The words we choose can inspire actions and uplift a spirit.
If God himself could stand in front of you and look you in the eyes and tell you how much He loves you, how would that change your day? If I could Zoom or FaceTime myself in front of you and tell you how charming you are, how would you feel?
The world does not say this to us, but we can tell others how much we care for them and how we appreciate having them in our life. We can tell others of beauty and love, while changing the course of their day, or even of their life. This leaves each of us with an urgent question – Who can I call today and what can I say to encourage them?
By Bob Bekins
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