When I was in second grade (7 years old), my aunt gave me a silk pillowcase. All of my aunts are wonderful (I’m exceedingly blessed by the family God has given me), but this particular aunt was closer to us (my sister and I) in age than any of the others and therefore was the “cool” aunt. Additionally one of her love languages is gifts, so she is always giving us fantastic gifts of one kind or another. And (as I said) she gave seven-year-old me a silk pillowcase which I ADORED. I’m convinced it’s what started my love for (read that “obsession with”) silk from which God many years later birthed Dyed4you 🙂 (Hear more about the History of Dyed4you.) But I digress…
So she gave me this fabulously awesome silk pillowcase and during show and tell at school after the holidays, my teacher was having us share what our favorite gift was that we’d received. I (of course) happily told my class that “My aunt gave me a silk pillowcase!”
To which my teacher responded, “No she didn’t.”
My perky exuberant seven-year-old self responded in a slightly more muted tone, “Yes she did…”
To which my teacher replied, “No she didn’t because no adult in their right mind would buy a child a gift like that.” And without further ado she dismissed me and continued on leaving me crushed and humiliated.
Nearly four decades later I can still remember the intensity of hurt her words and actions caused. Amazing how much pain her “logical” deduction caused. Even when I brought in the actual pillowcase the next day, she never apologized nor acknowledged it to the class. She simply muttered something about my aunt and her gift being “ridiculous” (which incidentally literally means “not worthy of consideration”).
Gratefully, the love from my aunt and the power behind her actions (and love), and the maturity her gift implied to me, ministered to me more than the pain of my teacher’s thoughtless words and actions hurt. Her gift said to me that she believed I was worthy of something special, mature enough to be trusted with something valuable, and her faith in me inspired me to want to live up to those implied encouragements.
Even as I type this I’m moved to tears by the love and faith a simple gift gave me and the profound impact it had on my life (and that’s not even counting the birth of Dyed4you Ministries later on). The clarity of this memory (and the frequency with which it comes to mind) is a strong reminder to me that our words and actions have profound impact.
The Power of Words & Actions
The point this story drives home for me (and that I hope it will for you too) is that are words and actions have more power than we realize. Sometimes our “throwaway” comments or “jokes” can have far more impact than we intend (I talk about this more in Careless Words (Matthew 12:36)). Proverbs 10:19 (VOICE) addresses this:
The more you talk, the more likely you will cross the line and say the wrong thing; but if you are wise, you’ll speak less and with restraint.
Our walk says SO much about who we are and Whose we are. What is yours saying to the world around you?
Father, forgive us for the times our careless words and actions have hurt others; we pray healing for their hearts just as we pray healing for our own (and forgive those who caused our hurts). Help us to have eyes to see and ears to hear that we might not cause wounds. Help us to guard our tongues and be mindful of how our actions (or even inattention or distractedness) communicates to others. Let us reflect Your heart towards those around us and may we do it accurately. And I ask for grace, mercy, and forgiveness for the times we blow it. Thank You Father. In all things may you be glorified.