Today Bruce and I had dinner with his almost life-long mentor. It's amazing to see a man in his 60's who has lived the majority of his life in ministry, still loving it. Oh- He doesn't leave you thinking there haven't been ups and downs. On the contrary, he is brutally honest about hurt, failures, hope and dreams. I watched as the two men interacted. I saw one older man breathing life, encouragement and wisdom into a younger, slightly discouraged, seeking man and I saw something- the power of words.
It's something that I have been dealing with recently anyway. In just a short hour I watched this older man speak to Bruce in a way that helped him sort his feelings out and encourage him. I watched Bruce's eyes well up once as this mentor/friend said kind and affirming things. I saw Bruce's shoulders go from slouched to straightened. I watched him leave a more confident man.
The power of our words, whether spoken to someone or about someone is unmistakably the strongest controlable force we obtain. I have heard and participated in careless words that did nothing to edify and build up the body of Christ. Shame on me! I have watched as someone's face went from glad to sad in just seconds because of the power of words. From sarcasm, gossip, empty promises and slander, to truth, compliments, kindness and thankfulness- our words have the power to build or tear down.
I guess as I watched Bruce's demeanor change today, I was reminded of how little it takes to build up another person. Mostly it takes listening to the person and hearing what they really want you to hear. Bruce's mentor did that today.