r3OH HOW much power we each have!

We don’t know or realise, most of the time, just about every given moment, our influence. Without even trying, we, ‘the powerless’, wield such great power. Power of the tongue, influence through action and inaction, the choice of acceptance and rejection, actors for impact every interactive moment of our lives.

We have a very real power extant in our interpersonal relationships. Power to commend and to condemn, to usher kindness and cruelty, to encourage and to exasperate, to delight someone and to dishearten them.

At times I’ve been criticised for emphasising encouragement over challenge. I’ve just seen enough of the hardships of life to know that God does much more in most lives these days through encouragement than he does through challenge, not that challenge is inappropriate. It has its time and place and point. But if challenge is going to be used by God it will be on-time, on-target, and on-point; we only need to be one degree off and that challenge comes off as a damaging criticism. Sure, God can and does use criticism to grow us, but speaking the truth in love needn’t be sloppy. In fact, it isn’t. And even as I write these words I’m so well aware of the power I’ve wielded in cutting people down, past and present. I’m grateful these days that most of the time I’ve got some awareness of insight, the Holy Spirit’s voice, so I can hurry into the operative elements of a fivefold apology when I speak words and do actions that damage. I’m reminded how damaging it is when I hear people use their power to cast aspersions about others. To judge them, or slander their name.

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