A ripple of hope

Acts 6:7, “So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith.”

Many of us operate under the assumption that in order to change the world we have to do great and mighty things. The truth of the matter is: a simple act of kindness in the name of Jesus; a loving gesture displaying Christianity; an understanding word to honor Him can start a rippling effect.

How we interact on a daily basis influences others. Have you ever had your day interrupted by someone’s rudeness? Maybe you were grabbing breakfast on your way to work and the person in the car in front of you bought your meal. Or you are dropping your children off at school and someone holds the door for you. Maybe you are running 10,000 errands in a small amount of time and someone offers to help you. The way it makes me feel in turn causes me to respond to others in similar fashion. And the rippling begins…

Words and actions cross our paths every second of every day. Did you ever stop and think how your words and actions are impacting others?

I once read a church billboard which said, “Always testify to the goodness of Jesus Christ and when necessary use your words.”

Sometimes I see someone acting out in a loving way to another person and I think, “I know that makes God smile!” Other times I see someone acting in an ungodly way and I think, “I bet God is wishing he or she would just sit down and hush.”

As Christians we have a higher calling – to spread the Good News of Salvation through Jesus Christ – with our words and our actions. When we do so, the ripples start and make such a difference in the lives of others. Try it! You never know how God may use it to benefit His Kingdom.

Did I say that?

1 Peter 4:11, “If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God.”

Have you ever said something you wish you could take back? If there were a rewind button, you’d hit it and start over! Maybe it was to your spouse; your parent; your child; your best friend. Once those words leave your lips, there is little you can do but apologize over and over. Sometimes an apology can’t take it away. Words can damage our hearts and make us insecure. They can cause more damage than a hurricane and replay over and over in our minds. What is more, they can cause times of extreme despair throughout our lives.

When we speak, Peter tells us we should talk as one who speaks for God. He is right, you know. In everything that we say and do, we should always represent God; whether it is Sunday morning on the front row of church or Friday night at the basketball game, our words matter. The manner in which we speak directly reflects our hearts. As children of God, it is our responsibility to honor our Father by choosing our words carefully. Perhaps nothing challenges me more in my daily life.

There’s a funny joke about a lady who was pulled over and arrested for stealing a car. Once booked and interrogated, the officer determined she had not stolen the car; in fact, the car she was driving was hers! With apologies, she was released. As the officer was returning her personal belongings, she asked why she had been suspected of auto-theft. Did she resemble a particular criminal? “No,” he responded. “I over-heard you yelling at the driver in front of you at the four-way stop. Your language was such that the stickers on the back of your car indicating that you were a Christian and loved God did not match the person driving the car. The owner of the car was a Christian and the person driving the car would not be cursing at the other driver. So I figured you had to have stolen the car.”

As people of God, we are called to a higher standard than others. We must love deeper than others; care more intensely; display tremendous compassion; and speak as a representative of God at all times. What a challenge…