Apparently, the airlines know you have to keep us Americans amused. They try to keep something happening on those video screens during much of the flight. If it's a long flight, you get a movie. If it's a shorter flight, you get shorts - not to wear, I mean, the kind you watch on the screen. And I'm usually so busy amusing myself with all the work I have to do, I don't pay much attention to the screen. But on this one flight, I did occasionally glance up at the girls' gymnastics competitions they were showing in the sports highlights. The big competition was between the United States and Russia, so my star-spangled blood was pulling for you-know-who. After each girl performed, they would do this little replay. I never saw a replay of anything she did right. They insisted on showing two or three times where she messed up. "Look, everybody - see the one thing she did wrong." That bothers me.
Well, I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You about "What You Replay."
Now, our word for today from the Word of God is one of my favorite relationship-verses in all the Bible. It's a great verse to memorize because it is one of the keys to Christ-like, loving relationships. It's also hard to do sometimes. Here's our word for today, Ephesians 4:29, "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs."
God says, "Lose the talk that tears people down; stick to saying things that will build people up." It might be interesting to play back a tape of your conversations the last couple of days - what you said to your kids, your mate, your co-workers, maybe your parents, your employees. Social researchers tell us that for every one negative input we get, we need seven positives to bring us back to zero. Seven to one - the recommended ratio of "build them up" comments, to "tear them down" comments. If we played back that tape of you, I wonder what the ratio would be?
All too often, we tend to be like that gymnastics video I saw: replaying, not what people do right, but replaying their mistakes, their failures, their short-comings, where they messed up. Those gymnastics athletes had done so much right, but the commentator insisted on focusing on what they did wrong. Could that be you sometimes? Could it be hurting people you care about - or ought to care about? It's that "unwholesome talk" God says we should not let come out of our mouth.
I saw a plaque in a bookstore once. It was a cartoon of this little dog, and the inscription said, "My name is 'No-No, Bad Dog.' What's yours?" I wonder if any folks around you may think their name is something like "No-No, Bad Dog"? Most of what they hear from you is about the bad stuff. And people eventually tend to become the names that they're called.
Maybe it's time to clean up your speech. Not from profanity or dirty talk - you probably don't do a lot of that. But from the negative talk, the destructive talk, the talk that is tearing down the joy and confidence of people around you. Maybe people you love very much. They need for you to replay the good things about them, the things they're doing right, the things you want them to do more of. Water what you want to grow. If you see someone improving or trying even a little, make a big deal of it. They'll want to do it some more.
The world is filled with people who will keep replaying your mistakes. But the followers of Jesus are called to something better, judging their input by this question, "Will this build that person up?" Then, when you do have to deal with something they've done wrong, it won't destroy them and they'll know it's coming from someone who really appreciates them.
You can change the course of someone's day - maybe even the course of their life, by choosing to replay the things they do right.