When I was on a mission in England and Ireland, I had a day to spend in the historic English city of York. What a place! Surrounded by a medieval wall, it is dominated by a cathedral that might be second only to Westminster Abbey in London. There was an unusual scene out in front - an artist on his knees, painstakingly working on a chalk drawing on the sidewalk in front of the cathedral. When I moved closer and took a look at it, I saw it was the Mona Lisa. He must have been working on it all day. It was beautifully done. As I went inside a restaurant, I noticed the artist had left. Within minutes, a little boy came up, intentionally ran over the artwork, then stomped back and forth and made footprints all over it. Other kids followed him and did the same thing. They trampled all over an artist's hard work. It hurt to see someone doing that.
Ephesians 4:29-30 from God's Word says, "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God." God is saying not to tear somebody down or trample them with your words. It grieves and breaks the heart of the Holy Spirit of God.
The Bible says in Ephesians 2:10, "We are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." Every person is God's unique masterpiece, and He has a job for each of us to do. He is trying to build us up and help us know what that job is. In a world that tears down our worth so much, He tries to get us to believe we are His workmanship in Christ Jesus. He is trying to finish a work of art in the person He created. That is why it hurts Him so much when we trample on one another.
In angry, impatient, or critical moments, it's easy to leave some verbal footprints on your son or daughter. The social scientists tell us that kids need seven positives to come back to zero after they have heard just one negative. It's hard for kids to forget the names they are called or things they are accused of by a parent, and you probably haven't forgotten either. Every time you fire careless words at your children, husband, or wife when you're tired or you want to win or you want to get your way, you have been tearing down a person God is trying to build.
Maybe there are attacks the other person doesn't even hear. Maybe damaging words have been said at work, at church, among friends, or behind their back. You're still trampling on God's work, tearing them down in the eyes of others. You don't usually do trampling with your feet, you do it with your mouth. Those footprints on the artist's skillful work in front of the cathedral were ugly. It is just as ugly when you do it to somebody else with your mouth.
Maybe it is time you did something about the footprints you have left on a masterpiece of God. Maybe it's time you go back and make it right, and make a commitment to not ever again let your mouth trample on the artwork of God.