Last week I shared about the first element of the Blessing, Meaningful Touch. At my church this past Sunday, a young college student walked forward at the end of the service. She whispered in our pastor’s ear that she was entering in full time mission work and leaving for Japan soon. Pastor already knew she had made this decision, but her walking forward was her formal announcement to our church. What my pastor did was amazing. He called up the entire congregation to come forward and put our hands on this young woman and pray a blessing over her journey. A few hundred of us walked up and put a hand on the person’s shoulder in front of us. I laughed at myself when I reached out my hand and squirmed a little. Meaningful touch may never be easy for some of us. But we must do it anyway.
Today I will share with you the second element of a Blessing... the Spoken Word.
"If you are a parent, your children desperately need to hear a spoken blessing from you. If you are married, your wife or husband needs to hear words of love and acceptance on a regular basis. This very week with a friend, a co-worker, or someone at your church, you will rub shoulders with someone who needs to hear a word of encouragement."
This comes from the book, "The Blessing", by Gary Smalley and John Trent. The one I hope you have ordered already. If not, open another window on your phone and do so NOW. Then come back and finish this post. Sorry to sound bossy, but I feel very strongly about this!
One evening a couple years ago, Paul and I were having dinner with a group of friends. We were chatting about an upcoming formal event several of us were going to. The girls were talking about what we may wear. One of my girlfriends said she had a dress already, but she was worried about wearing it. I asked her what she was worried about. She said, "well, itís really pretty and flattering."
I went, “Huh???"
I was very confused. She said, "I usually wear something black and plain to things like this."
I again said, “Huh????"
After a few more questions trying to figure out where the problem was, I finally realized she didn’t want to wear anything that made her stand out. Now my friend is absolutely beautiful. She is beautiful on the inside AND the out. She told me she was worried what people might say about her. I thought that was the craziest thing I had ever heard. Who would say anything negative about you looking beautiful? Then she said, "lots of people would, Kristin."
I know this may sound naive, but I realized at this moment that unfortunately not everyone sees beauty and appreciates it. But what really struck me is this, I wondered if when my friend walked into a ball room wearing a gown that was strikingly beautiful, would I tell her? I think I would... but would I look her in the eye, grab her hand and speak intentionally about how incredible she looked? I’m not sure I would have. I would think it. But what I’m realizing about myself is that I think great things about people, but I rarely say them. I think my friend is the epitomy of beauty. I think my husband is the greatest man I’ve ever known. I think my younger sister is one of the kindest souls in the world. Do I tell them? Sadly, no.
Our words have great power. They can be used for good and give love and acceptance. Or they can be used for bad and devastate lives. Whether it’s as simple as telling a woman she is beautiful, or as life-changing as telling someone they have a gift that will impact the world, we MUST say them.
So I ask you, are you saying out loud the gifts you see in others? It's a hard thing to do. We have to pause long enough to see the gifts and then take the time to tell them. But I promise you, if we share these truths with others, we will change lives. We can no longer just think them, we have to say them.