Competing anything, sports, talk, work, usually sparks words to go along with the effort. A little jive talk here, a push the envelope there, or a stretch the smile and the game has just a little more edge to it! It is amazing how we allow ourselves to be riled and motivated by words that we all know are shaped to push our buttons. It is as if we respond almost without thinking.
I can remember certain conversations as if they were yesterday. Dad and I were riding in a car; it was a bright, crisp, sunny morning in Portland, Oregon. I have no idea why we were there, but I remember his words. I know now that the conversation was not one he was looking forward to; yet to me his words were wise, tough, and kind.
Grand-Dad and I were sitting on the edge of his bed. Everyone had left; we both knew he was dying and that our time would be one of our last together. In those waning moments of his life our conversation became one. I am looking forward to the time when we will pick up our words and carry them on.
On the other hand, there was the conversation at the concert when I ran into the woman I had promised to take as I stood with my arms wrapped around another. Fortunately I do not remember the details since forgiveness kicked in from both sides. Yet, with the memory and the talk, I still find a tight grimace forming on my face.
I am no different than anyone else. I know I often waste my words. I talk before thinking, respond without forgiveness and compassion, and look to elevate self. The awesome news is that God knows all this and more, and responds directly.
“Frivolous talk provokes a derisive smile; wise speech evokes nothing but respect.” (Proverbs 14.3)
God words are direct. He loves each unconditionally and completely. He wants to restore each of us to our created potential. What happens next is our living definition of “respect”.