(February 23, 2023) Mama Lava shares draws our attention to…
Hi again! How are you all?
Last month I shared on the importance of everyone exercising kindness.
I highlighted what we all know so well – that the world needs Jesus! And that Paul wrote strongly about God’s kindness leading to salvation that comes through accepting Jesus as our Saviour: ‘… do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and restraint and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?’(Romans 2:4).
Kindness is defined by Merriam-Webster.com as the quality or state of being kind, treating people with kindness and respect.
In focussing on the need for kindness to be activated by Christians to the world, I draw our attention to linking words, one which hinders while the other enhances… deceit and nurture.
Lies, dishonesty, falsehood, fibs, misinformation… there are many ways to label an untruth. Did you know there is a marked difference between deceptive words and deceitful words? They are similar, but the difference is in the intent. Deceptive words are likely misleading, but deceitful words are deliberately so (wikidiff.com). This is what Merriam-Webster.com has to say:
- Deceitful (adj): marked by, based on, or done by dishonest methods to acquire something of value…
- Words related to deceitful: fraudulent, misleading, shady, sneaky, sly, tricky…
- Nearest opposite words of deceitful: candid, open, trustworthy, legitimate, valid…
My deceitful words are motivated by a desire to gain something of value. What might fall into this category? How about…
- An embellished resume that makes me appear better qualified for a job than I am?
- An exaggerated retelling of an event where I receive higher applause than I deserve?
- An arrangement of details to throw suspicion off me when I have made a mistake?
If a picture paints a thousand words, then what is it called when I edit a photo to remove my flaws and attract more attention? Deceit!
I would much rather be known for valid stories with legitimate facts. I want to be open and honest. And the funny thing is, when someone is real with me and shares their failures in all candidness, I’m drawn to them and feel that I can trust them. Why would I try to alter the truth and think that people would like me better for it?
Whew, this is getting heavy now! This one hits home for me, and I realise I have some repenting to do. How about you? Can you think of examples of ways you might be guilty of deceitful words?
Peter taught this: ‘Whoever would love life and see good days must keep their tongue from evil and their lips from deceitful speech’ (1 Peter 3:10).
‘Life-giving words’ has been a trendy hashtag du jour for a very long time. You have likely come across it more than once. Merriam-Webster.com says it’s an adjective that has been around a long timeand means ‘giving or having power to give life and spirit.’ In other words it’s invigorating, nurturing.
People throw the phrase around and it sounds noble, but it also raises the question – what does it mean to many? Makes me think of nurturing… and how can my words nurture life? Again I enlisted the trusty Merriam-Webster.com to shed some light:
- Nurture (v): to help the growth or development of
- Words related to nurture: cultivate, promote, advocate, nourish…
- Nearest opposite words of nurture: prevent, hinder, oppose, encumber…
Proverbs gives some more insight:
- ‘The lips of the righteous nourish many’ (Proverbs 10:21a)
- ‘The soothing tongue is a tree of life, but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit’ (Proverbs 15:4).
What comes to mind when you contemplate the idea of nurturing? A mother with her baby? A gardener with a seedling? An animal in dire straits who is being nursed back to life by a wildlife preservation group? These are the things I think of. But how do those pictures translate into language?
Nurture is a verb. It implies a doing. How then can my words take action in someone’s life? The beautiful thing about words is that they do have the power to take root in someone’s mind and grow into ideas and inspiration.
We’re familiar with the experience of having a voice from our childhood ringing in our heads. Perhaps it reminds us to floss or gives us random advice.
What if my kids heard my voice, for years to come, reminding them of their innate value and divine purpose and encouraging them to exercise all that they have to contribute to the world? That would be so much more life-giving than nagging them about their shortcomings or encouraging them to wear clean underwear in case they’re in an accident (I never really understood that one!).
Whose life can you breathe into with your words today? What impetuses can you nourish? Whose confidence can you cultivate? Are you up for the challenge? Notice who comes to mind… God may very well be pointing them out because they are ripe for some nurturing words.
‘Be the one who nurtures and builds. Be the one who has an understanding and a forgiving heart, one who looks for the best in people. Leave people better than you found them’ (Marvin J. Ashton).
Paul wrote: ‘Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God’ (Colossians 3:16 ESV).
Deceiving hinders, opposes, encumbers… Nurturing validates, matures, cares, nourishes, tends… I warn against deceitfulness and encourage speaking truth to inspire people with nurturing words!
We all need to avoid every deception, especially that lying demon spirit that is around today. We all need nurturing!
Mama Lava believes in making the big world a bit smaller through connection. Believing that everybody deserves to be wrapped in maternal love when they need it, she regularly shares encouragements… telling life experiences from an unapologetically Christian viewpoint the way she sees it, just as a mother does. Link: Mama Lava’s Back Porch (A Dose of Maternal Love).
Appreciated the ‘explanation’ about the nature of words and your article is one of several recently to encourage and strengthen my heart.