For if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way. ~James (3:2b)
I remember when I was in grad school working on my Master of Divinity; sometimes the course load would get a little heavy for me to carry and the course work would become challenging. I remember calling my grandmother (late at night) and talking to her about it over the phone. And, I’ll never forget what she said to me. She said, “You can do it!” I remember when I graduated from that program and I wanted to do doctoral work. There were people who were trying to discourage me and I remember calling me grandmother and talking to her over the phone about my desire to do doctoral work at Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School. And, her response was the same as before, “You can do it!” I remember when I was pastoring my first church in Illinois. I was tripping and stumbling over my own feet trying to find out how to actually be a pastor. I can remember getting discouraged at times and I would call my grandmother and talk her about it; and, I can hear her voice even now over the phone responding the same was as before, saying, “You can do it! Just keep at it! You can do it!” As many of you know, the road of parenthood is challenging and difficult. I remember there were times while being a single parent I would run into challenges and difficulties and I would give her a call and she would simply say, “You can do it! You can make it!”
Those simple words, “You can do it! You can make it! Keep at it!” sustained and strengthened me over the years and gave me the courage to keep going even when the path that I needed to take was not clear.
The words and phrases that we speak to others (be it orally or in written form) have more power than you can even imagine. The people around us take our words, our phrases, our facial expressions, and our body language to heart. Not only will people remember the words that come out of our mouths; but they will also remember our facial expressions and our body language as we speak to them. The words that you and I speak to others are more powerful than you think. The words that you and I speak (or, write) to others have the potential to make them feel either extremely powerful or extremely weak. Therefore, I know it sounds very elementary; and, I know that you have heard it before—but, seeing that our words have the potential to build up or tear down—let us use our words, wisely.
With the 2020 presidential election and the global pandemic it is perfectly normal to be passionate about your beliefs and your convictions; however, let me remind that while you are speaking about your beliefs and your convictions, passionately, make sure you do so in a loving and kind and manner. And, keep in mind that we are all just trying to be better human beings.
So—I’ll leave you with this. Before you speak THINK:
…is it TRUE?
…is it HELPFUL?
…is it IMPORTANT?
…is it NECESSARY?
…is it KIND?
Grace and Peace to the members and friends of First Congregational Church of Spencerport!
Pastor Michael L. Sloan