- Good job.
- I'm proud of you.
- You look beautiful.
- You are a great [insert noun here].
Compliments. Words of encouragement. We all love to hear them, don't we? I know I do. It not only makes me feel good when people make positive comments about me, but it inspires me to continue improving and doing well in those areas. And it makes me want to encourage others.
- I'm so sick of you.
- Why do you always have to [insert negative action here]?
- Why are you always so [insert negative characteristic here]?
- You are stupid.
Negative criticisms. Words of discouragement. We don't love these so much, do we? I know I don't. Not only does it make me feel bad when people make negative comments about me, but it makes me either want to "show them" (with impure motives) or just discourages me. Worse than that, however, I find it makes me more negative too.
Now, don't misunderstand me. I'm not blaming others for my own poor attitude or decisions. I am responsible for my own decisions. But as imperfect people, I am speaking of the reality that these things tend to impact us. As the saying goes, "Hurt people hurt people."
"Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will ever hurt me." Have you ever heard this old saying? Sorry to be negative for a moment, but I totally disagree with it. Words absolutely can and often do hurt us, much deeper than any physical injury sticks and stones could cause.
Perhaps you're a positive person always looking to compliment. If you are, that's awesome. Please keep being you. But if you're like me, then you struggle with this sometimes.
I sometimes find it so much easier to see the negative than the positive. Not only in others, but also in myself. But there's no benefit in such negativity.
Proverbs 18:21 says:
Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.
Words can hurt. But words can heal too. Let's be honest with ourselves. There are enough people speaking death over the people in our lives that they can use some words of life from us. It may be difficult because of the negativity we hear in our own lives. But we must be intentional and push through the negativity and choose to be people who speak life today.
Hurt people do tend to hurt people. But hurt people who find the grace and mercy Christ offers to empower them to lay their hurt at His feet can overcome and help heal (love, encourage) people.
So let's be intentional today and remember the following:
It's better to compliment than criticize.
It's better to encourage than enrage.