Many years ago, when my children were toddlers, I had taken them out to dinner at a local pizza place. They acted like normal toddlers; giggling, making weird noises and telling nonsensical stories. I had to remind them to eat occasionally, but we made it out with no spills or yelling. So a success in my book. I asked the server for the bill and she told me it had been taken care of and handed me a note. The note read:
“You have a beautiful family and you are such a good Mom. May God bless you all.”
That made my day and a couple days after! It was such a blessing that someone, I never did find out who, made the effort to validate my mom skills. I was well aware that a different night might have made a different impression but it still was a great moment.
Contrast that with my friend. She has a down syndrome daughter that is on the autism spectrum. Her daughter is developmentally like a toddler in the body of a teenager. So when she acts out like a toddler, people can be incredibly mean and say things to my friend like “She’s far too old to act like that.” Or “Can’t you control your child?” I’m sure those comments and others put a dark cloud over the rest of her day.
Words matter. We say they don’t but they do. Two different stories, both using words that will change someone’s day. How often do we say what’s on our mind, not even considering the impact those words might have?
“Like apples of gold in settings of silver is a word spoken in right circumstances.” Proverbs 25:11 (NASB)
Wow! This image makes me think of a bountiful thanksgiving feast, with a centerpiece made of sparkling, golden apples laying on a silver filigree tray. What a beautiful image.
Our words, when spoken in love, can be just that beautiful. A simple compliment, words of love and friendship, or a validation of a job well done can all make a difference for someone and change their day.
Technology and social media have changed the way we speak to each other. Hiding behind a computer screen emboldens some people to be mean spirited with no accountability. If “a word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver” (KJV), then I have to think the often vile words we are seeing and hearing are rotten apples on a paper plate.
It’s more important than ever to use the right words in the right circumstances. I need to be more intentional handing out compliment with love. My friend is a great mom, and I am in awe of how she handles all of her kids. I have never told her that. I also see moms, dads, caregivers and teens doing incredible things every day. I want to be more intentional in telling them when I see it.
The words I speak should paint a beautiful picture, and uplift those around me. In a world full of rotten apples, I want to offer the golden apple on the silver tray. This is one more way for us to set ourselves apart and shine the light of Jesus.