Have you ever received a memorable compliment? I’m talking about the kind of compliment that really had an impact on you. Perhaps it was from your Mom or Dad, or maybe it was from your Pastor, or a teacher. I remember my Dad telling me on more than one occasion, “I’m really proud of you, Son”, and then would elaborate as to why. When times were difficult and I lacked direction and purpose, my Pastor said, “I believe in you”. Receiving compliments like these were monumental in my life. They offered hope and encouragement then, and still do to this day.
If I were to ask the question, “Have you ever received a memorable insult?” Chances are that it would not take too long for you to list a string of insults that have had a negative impact on you. Big ones.
The Power of the Spoken Word
There is so much power in the words that we use. They can be used to either tear one down, or build one up. The one can be completely devastating, while the other can bring healing and restoration to your soul.
James, the brother of Jesus, wrote about this very issue in James chapter 3. He compares the tongue to a bit in the mouth of a horse, a rudder on a ship, even a spark that can start a fire. When you read it, it seems hopeless, asking, “What am I supposed to do then?” To answer that question, he then writes, “7For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, 8but no human being can tame the tongue.“ Did you catch that? The word “mankind” and “human being” are both used in the same sentence to emphasize just how powerless you are to tame your own tongue, and he’s right. You can’t. But God can.
Your Compliment, His Word of Encouragement
When you submit your tongue to God, he can minister to others through it. Further still, when you wear the Presence of God, your compliment is God’s word of encouragement to that person. Its sole purpose is to build up the listener (see Eph. 4:29). It has no ulterior motive, just to build them up and bring encouragement.
When I was a kid, my Mom used to make homemade bread. I remember her taking flour and kneading it into the bread, working out all of the air pockets in the dough. It is the Holy Spirit who ministers to the soul of the listener. Like my Mom used to knead her homemade bread, the Holy Spirit will take what you have spoken, and Knead it into the soul of the listener. A simple compliment can have ramifications well beyond anything you had intended or imagined.
Looking For Opportunities
Every day, I look for opportunities to invest in others by paying them a genuine compliment. You don’t even have to really know the person you are paying the compliment to. For example, the other day, I saw a young woman taking great care to ensure that the coffee condiments were well stocked at our local convenience store. In the midst of the hustle and bustle of everyone pulling out napkins and coffee cup lids with little stir sticks, I said, “I know that this is not your dream job, but thank you for doing what you do with excellence”. She stopped what she was doing and turned toward me and thanked me for saying that. Twice. Her countenance told me that this little compliment made at 7:10 am brightened up her entire morning.
Let me ask just two more questions of you. Will you submit your tongue to God and allow the Holy Spirit to minister to others through it? Will you allow the Holy Spirit to Knead his love into your heart, so that when you speak, words of encouragement flow from your lips? Remember, Jesus said, “. . . out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks” – Luke 6:45. Like kneading flour into bread-dough, I encourage you to allow the Holy Spirit to knead his words into your heart so that you can minister to others with your compliment, . . . his word of encouragement.