“Pleasant words are as a honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.” –Proverbs 16:24
Communicators, beware! Your words today may have the potential to severely help someone!
Yesterday was a day stocked with sporadic encouragement proceeding from the lips of my fellow humans. Finding myself surprised and delighted it seemed that God wanted some of the heaviness which has found me in recent weeks to begin to lift. He chose to turn the thick gelatin of gloom into a mist of fading fear until I eventually found myself lighthearted for the first time in about two weeks. Some of you reading may wonder why I risk transparency in a very public forum as I detail my recent struggle against a bleak outlook. Well, one of the chief reasons is because every single soul that visits the TT blog knows what it is like to be discouraged and seemingly unable to get detached from its tentacles. As a matter of fact, some of you reading are currently mired in a season of ongoing gray clouds which refuse to lift and reveal the sun that is currently shining on others. I want you to know that you are not alone and that the vast majority of honest people would lift their hands to affirm that they also have felt your pain. Pastors, Christian leaders and writers are no different. We can either cloak it and pretend that we are so spiritual that we have no lot among humanity anymore, or we can confess before all that we have recently tasted the salt of our own tears.
Jonathan is a British elder and friend who had the gall to label me a ‘doom merchant’ a few days ago. He’s bigger than me and 4,300 miles away so I let the comment go without violent retaliation. Actually, I found his description to be so accurate on that day that I laughed out loud and filed the phrase away in my mind to be plagiarized at a later date. Doom merchant…how fitting a description for those of us whose skies are frequently dark. Knowing that this can be a personal weakness for me I started filling my heart with some uplifting Scripture and found that it really fortified me against going any further with the drear. By the way, I had some very real and objective issues that I was wrestling with: there were church struggles with a few families moving on unhappily to other assemblies; a handful of couples I’ve worked with over the years were making foolish decisions that were going to hurt them in the end; budget challenges for ministry were mocking me; an onslaught of serious illnesses had pounced upon many of the saints that I’m blessed to shepherd; a mentor in pastoral ministry had two strokes and heart attack and was incapacitated in a nearby hospital; a man I discipled years ago was heading to jail and leaving his family destitute…ooohhhh, I need to leave off here because the negative gnawing is starting to arise again. Let me get back on track:
“Pleasant words are as a honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.” – Proverbs 16:24
You and I need to really discipline our ears, minds, hearts and souls to be careful how deeply we allow “the evil report” to penetrate. I’m not always clear how our enemy advances his diabolical cause but I do know that he works through confusion. He desires for us to look at the facts without the filter of truth. The facts may be less than appealing, but the truth needs to eclipse the facts. Facts can be changed midstream, truth is eternally grounded. The facts may reveal that all those things I listed above are very discouraging and somewhat dangerous. The truth, however, is that God is at work and has not absconded from His throne. He takes negative facts and utilizes them to demonstrate His sufficiency for endurance and His resurrection power for overcoming. He will empower you to persevere which will lead to an eventual victory. So, to whom are you listening? I have found that when I instruct myself I do well in life. When I listen to myself apart from instructive truth, however, I flounder. Take the reins of your personal attitude and teach it to sit still at the feet of Jesus. Speak God’s truth to yourself and give yourself permission to cultivate a positive outlook – is there not clear reason why the saints of God should live with bright prospect? Feel free to take a break from negative people or grave sources of information. I skipped the local and national newscasts and internet reports for one day last week and noticed a significant boost in my morale. Anyway, I’m starting to sound like a Dr. Phil wannabe in a cleric’s collar so I’ll leave off now. Suffice it to say that this historical doom merchant has been surrounded by people who are gifted at handling honeycomb and it has sweetened my soul and fortified health in my bones. Jonathan, thanks for risking it tongue and cheek with me – it helped.
May the Doom Merchants become Victory Vendors as we listen to those who are speaking life and light into our souls.
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