This past week we had the incredible opportunity to go to an Atlanta Braves game. Some good friends invited us to go and we could not pass on the opportunity. It is always funny because my wife not watching baseball much in her life always has some interesting questions, but one particular question really had my thoughts stirring.
I believe it was the 5th inning, Tim Hudson was pitching with two runners on. The game was neck and neck so far and Hudson was trying to pitch out of a jam. When Hudson had two outs and then two strikes on the next batter, the stadium erupted with cheer as Hudson delivered his next pitch. Belinda asked why everyone was cheering. I explained that he was in a jam at a critical point in the game, two runners on, close game, two outs and two strikes on the batter. I told her that the fans were doing this to encourage Hudson, hopefully building him up so that he would get the batter out to end the inning. And guess what, he ended up getting the batter out to end the inning!
Later in the game when it was still a close, Derek Lee who is a recent acquisition for the Braves came to bat. He grounded out and a man not to far from us heckled him for a few minutes yelling things such as "Go back to Chicago Derek". It was not only annoying, but discouraging as a fan at this game. I do not understand how people can be so discouraging with their words, or why they would even want to.
I was thinking about this while getting ready this morning and Ephesians 4:29 came to mind. Then while I was driving to work the radio station I was listening to read it for their verse of the day. I like how the Message translation puts it: Watch the watch you talk. Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth. Say only what helps, each word is a gift. We are to encourage or build one another up. I know I have blogged and preached about this before, but it is something that I truly believe in. I guess I feel this way because it seems that we are hurt by words on a daily basis, and you may have experienced it as well. Our flesh will want us to retaliate with words, but that is not the answer. I love how this verse says "Say only what helps". I find that many times people want to complain, whine, or say hurtful words thinking that they are "helping" but in actuality they are tearing you down. I do not understand this. I do not understand it at all. However it sets the example to me in how I should NOT be. So be careful with the words you use today. Make it a priority to only build others up and never tear them down.