Tuesday, October 25, 2011
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My three kids once gave me the most unique gift. It was called The Terminator. It wasn't as bad as it sounds. It was this little black, plastic control device. It looked sort of like uh...that remote control switch for a television, and it had three buttons on it. One said Missile Launcher, and when you press that button, it was supposed to make the appropriate sound of a missile being fired and exploding. Then you had a button for Machine Gun. And that had the appropriate rat-a-tat-tat of a machine gun. And if all else failed, you had the Death Ray. That was the other button, and it made sort of a surreal type of sound that lets you know that you've got the ultimate weapon in your hand.
Now, The Terminator was very helpful when you're behind slow traffic for example. Now, you wonder what the use is? Well, if the drivers in front of you were really making you impatient, you just launched a missile, or let go with your machine gun, or you hit them with a death ray. Now, it really didn't do anything, but it felt good. Or maybe someone was coming into your office or your house that you didn't want to see. All you need to do: hit that machine gun; get the message right away to them. It was terrific! Somebody was making big money providing us with this harmless weapon for letting out our frustrations. I actually have had a Terminator long before they gave me that gift. Actually, we all have a terminator, and it really terminates.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Terminator."
Our word for today from the Word of God comes from Proverbs 12:18. It says this: "Reckless words pierce like a sword." It talks about the ability of our tongue and our words to cut very deeply. Now, the "cutter" seldom knows how deeply the "cut-ee" has been wounded or for how long that wound may last. We can all remember the names we've been called, we remember criticism that was been leveled against us, put-downs that were aimed our direction. You know what? I'll bet you the person who said them has long forgotten them, but they're still a part of our personality. Reckless words pierce like a sword; they go deep. In fact, so deep that Proverbs 18:21 goes on to say, "The tongue has the power of life and death."
All day long you and I are giving out life sentences and death sentences; sentences that either make people feel more alive or feel like they're dying inside. There are some life sentences like, "Man, you look great today!" Or, "Thanks for what you've been doing." Or, "You know, what you're doing is really important. How can I help you?"
But it's the death sentences I'm concerned about; the ones that make people feel like they're dying inside when we say them. We terminate people inwardly without even realizing it. In fact, research shows that it takes seven positives to bring a person back to zero from one negative they've had in their life.
I wonder if that's the ratio at your house. Do you have seven praises for every one negative? How about the rest of your relationships? We're piercing people deeply with the names we call them, the accusations against them, the put-downs, the sarcasm, the criticisms, even well intended criticisms. It's no wonder that David said to the Lord, "Put a watch in front of my mouth." We should too.
Oh, I could push buttons on my plastic terminator, and I can make some noises that did no real damage. But you and I have a real terminator. This tongue we've got is daily either making people feel more alive or more destroyed inside.
So, hold the put-downs, swallow the sarcasm, and cushion the criticism. Remember, your tongue can be The Terminator.