With this in mind I have a confession to make.
I have for years used a word to describe the students I worked with and, honestly, most people significantly younger than me, that I had to confess to the Lord and seek His forgiveness for using. It is a simple word. The word by itself seems innocent enough, but the implications of this word are the exact opposite of what I want to speak over any person. It is a word that is so contrary to the life I desire all to live in. It is a word that actually speaks against son and daughtership of God.
The word: kid.
I have called countless younger men and women, kid. A kid is a baby goat and goats, in scripture, are a symbol of those who are not walking with the Lord. Jesus separates the sheep from the goats. The sheep belong to God and the goats do not. And I, a shepherd, a pastor, have referred to those entrusted to me by God… baby goats, otherwise: young people who will not be recognized by Jesus in the end.
Forgive me Jesus for speaking this over so many I love. Forgive me Jesus for speaking this over those you love. Forgive me Jesus for being so careless with my words.
If words are descriptives of people, I want to be a person who speaks life continually over others. And, yes, at times in a world where words are used so carelessly and sarcasm is a good friend to many pastors, a good segment of the youth ministry world, and my family, this idea may seem a bit ridiculous, but I must speak. We must pay close attention to words and phrases we commonly use. We must allow our words to speak life over all people.
Think of the things we say so casually:
Shame on you
My teacher is so stupid
I hate ______
I’m so stupid
I’m such a dork
I could add several more to this list and I know there are words I use that I do not yet hear the curse spoken in them.
Our words matter. Our conversation matters. Paul writes, “Let your conversation be full of grace, seasoned with salt!” Salt is a preservative. Our words should preserve others.
In a world increasingly full of violence, may a revolution of life begin with our words. For as Jesus says, “out of the heart your mouth speaks!”
Today, may we turn from words that kill, steal and destroy and may our words, as we abide with Christ, be a conduit for his life. Life that is full and complete and abundant.
How have words affected you? What phrases have you been convicted to stop using?