Recently I found myself at odds with one of my nieces. It was not a good night for me to begin with, my temper was flaring and I was fighting the urge to lash out at everything. I knew the best thing to do was to avoid my niece so that my anger wouldn’t get in the way. I failed.
The confrontation started off badly. Voices rising, defenses building and verbal daggers were being tossed in all directions. I wanted to walk away, but my own stubbornness kept me rooted to the spot. It is not easy for me to relinquish my “righteous” indignation and I struggle in those moments to give God control. We were quickly reaching the climax and I was ready to go for it when I heard the “still small voice” calling out. In a moment of clarity, I stopped fighting and let God do the talking. My niece was still angry, but as I calmed so did she and a true soul conversation was finally had. Looking back on that, I realize that when I spoke life into the moment everything changed. TobyMac wrote about this in his song Speak Life:
“Though it’s crazy, amazing
We can turn a heart with the words we say.
Mountains crumble with every syllable.
Hope can live or die
So speak life, speak life.
To the deadest darkest night.
Speak life, speak life.
When the sun won’t shine and you don’t know why.
Look into the eyes of the brokenhearted;
Watch them come alive as soon as you speak hope,
You speak love, you speak...
You speak life”
Words have the power to influence everyone they touch. After that conversation, I felt peace and joy and was filled with energy. My niece was able to express herself more clearly and deeply than she had in a long time. Jesus is love, so I need to be love, and my words need to reflect that Jesus lives in me.
Whether it’s with the person sitting next to me on the bus, or the teller at the grocery store, or the kids running through the house, each and every moment I have these people in my life is a moment to speak love, joy and peace. The Bible says “let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.” I just hope that I can learn from this experience and remember it the next time that I find myself wanting to yell instead of speak life.