The Grocery Store Mom
I was on the soup aisle when I first heard her.
She was yelling, yelling, yelling.
I turned the corner to see what was going on. It was a mom with two elementary-age kids beside the frozen foods.
Her tongue was shooting bullets of hurtful words into their young souls.
Both kids just stood there, frozen themselves. Taking it in. Not talking back. No expressions on their faces.
I felt like a witness. To a shooting without guns.
I was disturbed. Helpless. Wondering if I should do something.
If this is how the mother acts in public, how does she act in private, with nobody watching?
Bullets or Seeds?
We’ve all lashed out with hurtful words. They explode out of us. Uncontrollable. Uncontainable. We don’t care where they land or how deep they penetrate. In the moment, anyway.
My pastor shared a word metaphor a few weeks ago in his sermon. He said our words are either bullets or seeds. Gary Chapman spoke of it first in his book, Love as a Way of Life.
We use words as bullets when we:
- Speak harshly
- Criticize deeply
- Spread lies
We leave hurt bodies in our wake. We become living cemeteries. We sow graveyards wherever we go.
But we plants seeds with words when we:
- Speak love
- Give grace
We nurture relationships. We grow people. We will eventually see good crops around us. And we will be encouraged ourselves.
Our words can grow people. Or our words can shoot them down.
God is glorified when we scatter his message of love, not hate, into the atmosphere around us. But he is disrespected when we disrespect others.
The Post Office Dad
I was later witness to another parent, another set of kids.
This time it was a father. I was in line at the post office. He was ahead of me with his three children, a set of triplets. Two girls and a boy, around 3 years old.
The kids would play between his legs, talk with each other, and generally look around. The dad would reach down and talk to them, gently, playfully. Their love for each other was obvious.
His words nurtured his kids. But his words to them nurtured me, too. I felt watered. The father’s kindness was contagious.
How we talk to other people matters. Not just to the people we’re talking to. It matters to others around us as well.
Be a planter, not a shooter.
We all are listening.
“Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit—you choose.”
Proverbs 18:21 (The Message)
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Where have you seen bullets and seeds? Please share your thoughts on the power of words.
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