When I was learning to drive, the Michigan Department pf Transportation sponsored a TV & radio commercial that told you to always be aware of other drivers. If you were going thru an intersection on a green light, take a quick look at the cars who had a red light to make sure they were stopped. If you didn’t and one of them didn’t stop, they might hit you. Even though you’d be in the right, you might be dead. The commercial ended up with the words, “You could be right but you could be dead right.” It was a message I never forgot.
Fast forward 15 years to when I’m married. When anyone said anything that wasn’t technically accurate, I always felt a need to correct them. I just thought I was being very accurate. Kind of like a Mr. Spock on Star Trek. But my wife felt like I was being overly critically of her. Needless to say, this produced a few arguments in our first few years together.
One night, right before we went to bed (why do arguments always seem to start at bedtime?), we got into an argument. We went to bed without resolving it. Within a few minutes, she was fast asleep. But not me! I’m still very mad. And I’ve got to go to work tomorrow. The fact that she fell asleep so quickly made me even madder.
As I’m laying there in bed complaining to God about how right I am and why she wasn’t seeing that, He interrupted me and said, “You may be right and if you don’t watch it, you’ll be dead right.” OUCH! That got my attention. I was placing my need to be right above my wife’s well-being. I didn’t realize how my critical spirit was hurting her. I repented right then and there. Only then did I fall asleep.
The next day, I made time to tell her what God had revealed to me. I asked for and received her forgiveness. I made a vow to try to cultivate an encouraging environment instead of a critical one. Proverbs 16:24 says, “Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” It took time but over the next few months, I made some real progress. I know this because she told me so. Proverbs 27:2 says “Let someone else praise you…”
To our pleasant surprise, most people now tell us how much we’ve encouraged them. In a world where we’re constantly beaten down, God’s Word lifts us up with words like…
“A soothing tongue is a tree of life…” Proverbs 15:4
“A person finds joy in giving an apt reply, and how good is a timely word.” Proverbs 15:23
“….the tongue of the wise brings healing.” Proverbs 12:18
“Anxiety weighs down a heart, but a kind word cheers it up.” Proverbs 12:25
“The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life…” Proverbs 10:11
May you be an encourager to those around you.
For His Kingdom,