God's word in today's world

Soft words and reprimands


Before my quiet time, I glanced at the emails that had landed in my inbox through the night. The one from Willie caught my eye:

I read your piece about too many flaws this morning. It feels as if you wrote it just for me. I’ retired and I struggle to find out what my calling is.

I believe the Lord had a purpose for placing me in this retirement village, but it’s as if I cannot find out what He is planning for me. I talk to Him, but He doesn’t answer. How will I know?

Maybe I’m just too impatient. His timing is not always ours …

I want to respond immediately, but I don’t know exactly what to say. So, I start my quiet time by reading my verse for the day:

15Tell them all this. Build up their courage, and discipline them if they get out of line. You’re in charge. Don’t let anyone put you down.

At first, I want to skip this verse and read the next one, because this verse has been written for Titus only. But the more I read it, the more I realise that this instruction applies to all of God’s children. And yes, it is certainly also a meaningful response to Oom Willie’s questions to God.

We need to talk softly to those who take the wrong road. We must set them right and help them up. We must go in front so that others can follow.

People lose direction. People walk around in circles, because they don’t know the way. We who know where to go have the privilege of showing others, of helping others.

We celebrated my daughter’s birthday this weekend. When I got up Sunday morning, a bunch of students was still sleeping everywhere. One by one they woke up. With their permission I switched the TV to church, which consisted of a few music videos followed by a 15-minute sermon by a young pastor. Afterwards, we chatted about the message and most of them shared their stories. We concluded with a prayer.

Later one sent a “thank you” to say how much it had meant to him.

I believe that in a way we were able to speak soft words to them. As they were sitting around still under their blankets, we could praise God through the music videos and the TV pastor was able to show each of them the way through worries.

But I also remember the previous evening when one of the guys use one swear word after the other after one of the Boks kicked straight into touch. Without thinking, I firmly indicated my dislike from behind. He apologised immediately.

I could say that to him because I have authority, authority that I got from God. Authority to speak soft words, but also to reprimand.

This is your calling too, as well as a supernatural answer to Oom Willie’s question. All of us must use soft words and help others on the road and use our words to do so. And sometimes we must reprimand others.

And we don’t have to be afraid to do so, because we get our authority from God.

Scripture
Titus 2:15

Reflection
Who do you have to speak to?
What do you have to say?
How must you say it?

Prayer
Lord, thank you for this answer about the purpose of my life! Thank you for wanting to use me to bring people closer to You. Please help me to use the right words at the right time and not to be afraid. In Jesus’ Name, amen.

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