In the book Encouragement: The Key to Caring, Larry Crabb describes how nerve-wracking it was the first time he volunteered to pray out loud during a church service. Larry recalled, “I found my theology becoming confused to the point of heresy. I remember thanking the Father for hanging on the cross and praising Christ for triumphantly bringing the Spirit from the grave. Stuttering throughout, I finally thought of the word Amen, said it, and sat down. I recall staring at the floor, too embarrassed to look around, and solemnly vowing never again to pray or speak aloud in front of a group.”
He goes on to tell how an older man in his church sought him out after the service and said to him, “Larry, there’s one thing I want you to know. Whatever you do for the Lord, I’m behind you 1,000 percent.”
Now there was a man who understood the power of a timely word! (Proverbs 15:23). Perhaps he saw Larry as a promising, young teenager who was embarrassed and troubled. Maybe he had experienced something similar as a young person and had tasted the shame Larry was feeling. Whatever it was that compelled him to speak, his words were an example of the proverb that says, “Kind words are like honey—sweet to the soul and healthy for the body” (Proverbs 16:24).
When it comes to words of encouragement (Proverbs 15:4), timing is everything. It’s why Proverbs also emphasizes that even cheerful words spoken at the wrong time can be “like taking someone’s coat in cold weather or pouring vinegar in a wound” (Proverbs 25:20).
A lot of good can come from the right words spoken at the right time. Today, use words that will help heal hurting hearts and give people the true view of who they are in Jesus.
How might your words have lifted up or torn down others lately? How have Jesus’ words helped you to view yourself correctly?
Taken from “Our Daily Journey”