By Elizabeth Strayer
“The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”
I remember my mom saying, “If you can’t say anything nice don’t say anything at all.” I didn’t realize at that time how true that statement was, and I know I have repeated it so many times to my boys in the past several years. Last year however, I put a new twist on it and did not realize the effect or that I would feel the fruit from it for a year.
I was involved in a Christmas production at church and let’s just say my insecurities were getting the best of me. I didn’t think I was doing well enough, my voice was not rich enough, my tone was off- you know the “poor pitiful me” road that we travel down too many times in life. I will say my feelings were tainting my mood and my outlook. There was a young lady whose voice was absolutely beautiful. The rich tone and precision of her instrument was breathtaking. She knew all her words and hit the notes with such power and depth that you just stood there and listened with anticipation for the next note. So I am not sure I saw her personality from a clear perspective if you know what I mean. She seemed to know she was good and would get very agitated when someone else missed their note or place. She would whisper to a friend, and I (in a fragile state of mind) assumed her whispers had something to do with how off I was at the time. Well I have an expression: “I was on my last nerve and it was getting thin” by the end of the 6th night’s performance.
We had just stepped off the stage at the conclusion and for some reason I saw her standing over to the side. I walked up embraced her with congratulation for a great performance and started speaking. I told her that she had the radiance of the Holy Spirit upon her, that God had blessed her with an incredible voice that would allow her to move those from desperation to hope. She had great power in her voice and her tongue and that the words would speak life into others and to use it wisely as God had intended. I asked if I could pray for her, she had a commission and purpose on her life. That was it. We hugged, and I left.
Fast forward. Here it is Christmas time again, and the Christmas production is back on. Well on the first night we were sitting in the dressing room, and we could hear the cast members on stage. This is our outreach night so we hear the leader of our Outreach program give his testimony and share, saying if you need prayer follow me and we have several people that would love to pray for you. At that moment, this same girl turns to me and after giving such loving complements about the Outreach leader she says, “Do you remember last year when you spoke over me? Well you changed my life. I had never had anyone speak over me before and that was the first time I had ever had anyone pray for or over me. Since that time God has given me a greater freedom in my worship so thank you.” My heart melted, not because I had done anything miraculous but because I did not speak what I was feeling a year ago. God spoke through me to her, and it made a strong impression. Now I wish I could say that I do that all the time and with my own family, children and friends, but I cannot. I can say that I now have a whole new perspective on the power of the tongue, and we can each breathe life or death in to everyone we encounter.
Prayer – Heavenly Father, I pray that I always see those around me with Your eyes and not with mine. That I speak life into them and you breathed life into me. I pray that everyone has a fresh new look at those they encounter and know that you are always present and they might just be the vessel used to tell someone else that YOU love them. May peace be in your heart for this Christmas season and love be all around you. Thank you Father for your grace and love may we always walk in truth and compassion. In Jesus Holy name Amen.