Proverbs 18:21 (NKJV): Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit.
I have always carried a burden for the young and less fortunate. While substituting at a school years ago, I came in contact with a young man who most of the school had labeled “Trouble.” He was only in the third grade. He was a handsome young man with dark skin and beautiful, crystal blue eyes. I am sure his charming looks had saved him from several punishments. You would often see him riding his bike down the busy streets in town late at night. On this particular day, I was blessed to have him in my class. The teacher had left a test for me to give the class while she was out. After I passed out the test, he began to “put on a show.” It was obvious to me that he was doing everything he could to avoid taking that test. After his continually disturbing the class and my countless efforts to have him settle down and not talk during the test, I felt defeated. I knew my only option was to send him to the office. When he returned from the office, the rest of the class had left to go to P.E. The young man came in the room with his head hanging down and a frustrated demeanor. I asked him to come over to me, and I embraced him with a BIG hug. I told him how I knew that he was so much more capable than what he was showing. I told him that he was bright, handsome, sweet, and that I loved him! When I said I loved him, his body almost went limp in my arms. He most likely had not heard those words many times in his life, possibly never. We set a desk for him next to mine, and I told him I knew he could do excellent on that test, and by sitting next to me, he would not be so distracted. So that is what he did.
God knew the encouragement that little boy needed.
Psalm 27: 10 (NKJV): When my father and my mother forsake me, Then the Lord will take care of me.
He never looked at me that same after that. Everyday thereafter when he would see me in the halls he would make sure to find me and tell me how well he was doing. God had placed me in this boy’s path to do exactly what His word promised. I was a stepping stone that day on the path to were God was leading him. What I and most other people did not know about this young man was how difficult his home life truly was. He had grown up with two drug-addicted, abusive parents. There was drug traffic in and out of his home at all hours of the night, so he would often ride his bike around town to escape the life at home. His father had been in and out of jail his whole life, and shortly after being released from prison, his father was murdered. This young man had NO ONE to tell him that he could be any better than the examples he had at home.
Luke 6:45 (NKJV): A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.
Little did I know that my words that day made a lasting impression on that young man’s heart.
I did not see him for several years. Nearly 9 years following the day in the classroom, my family and I were ordering food to eat after church, when suddenly this young man came running up to me. “Mrs. Cormier! Mrs. Cormier! OH, how I have wanted to find you!” My heart nearly came out of my chest. It was him! His eyes were holding back tears. We embraced and spoke for a while, catching up.
Proverbs 12:18 (NKJV): There is one who speaks like the piercings of a sword, But the tongue of the wise promotes health.
You never know how your words may affect someone. My words to that young man that day were a reflection of my heart, and because they were heart-felt, they were also heart-healing.
Who could you affect with your words today? We must be intentional with our words of encouragement. Ask God to use you to speak life into dead situations in others’ lives.