Sometimes people will say things that catch us off guard. Have you ever had someone say something to you that took you by surprise? Or, sometimes someone will say something that is just downright offensive or hurtful. Maybe you have been offended or hurt by someone’s words. Once words are spoken, they cannot be taken back. It is like trying to put toothpaste back into the tube once it is squeezed out.

There are other times when someone will say something that gives you pause to stop and really think about what they said.

For the past several weeks, I have been car shopping. I really do not like that process. I went to three different car dealers, and after doing my due diligence, I purchased a vehicle. And that is when it happened. I was sitting with the car dealership finance person signing 100 pieces of paper (or at least it seemed like 100 pieces of paper). The gentleman sitting across the desk from me looked up at me and said (AND I QUOTE) “This will probably be the last vehicle you buy!” Wait! What? This will probably be the last vehicle I buy? “Well,” he said, “you had your other car nine years, and if you keep this one that long...” I thought to myself; how old do you think I am?

I couldn’t get what he said out of my head. Could he possibly be right? Might this be the last car I ever buy? I hope not, but you never know what tomorrow will bring. The Psalmist writes, “The years of our life are three score and ten, or even by reason of strength fourscore.” So the Bible says one can expect to live 70 or maybe 80 years. I know many people 70 and older who are living very good and productive lives.

However, it is true, our days are numbered. That is why each day should be lived as though it might be our last. That is why it is so very important to choose our words wisely. Our words should be words that build up and not tear down. Our words should be words of love and acceptance and not words of judgment and exclusion. Our words must be words of forgiveness and not words of hate and grudges. Words matter, and they make a difference in the lives of those who receive them.

In all of my “63” years, I still find it very difficult to not allow the negative and hurtful words of others affect me or define me. It is a process in which we learn to weed out the negative and hurtful and only embrace those positive words that enhance one’s life.

Now I realize there are times when we must hear those sometimes difficult words in order for us to grow. But they should be said in a loving and caring way, and they should be received in the same manner.

There are lots of people out there just waiting for every chance they can get to tear us down, to tell us we are not worthy, we do not fit in, we are losers.

But we should not listen to those words or allow them to define us. It is far more important to listen to what Jesus has to say…

John 3:16: For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

Romans 5:8: But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 8:37-39: No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Galatians 2:20: I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 

1 John 3:1: See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him.

These are the words that matter. These are the words that should define who we are. Choose your words wisely.

Pastor Russel

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