By Matthew Hampton
Faculty, College of Theology
I recently watched one of my sons play a game at their field day called Builders and Destroyers. Some kids would be builders and have to go around and stand up as many cones as possible. The other kids were destroyers and they would go around knocking as many cones down as possible. This was very funny to watch as it was much easier for the kids to go around and be destroyers.
Even if there were more builders than destroyers I noticed that there were always more cones destroyed than there were those that the builders were able to stand up. I noticed that it was much harder to build or stand a cone up once someone had destroyed it. How easy it seemed to destroy and how hard it seemed to build. This got me to thinking about whether or not I am a builder or a destroyer when it comes to life? Do I build others up or do I destroy them with my words and actions? Is it easier for me to destroy others rather than build them up?
You might have heard that it takes about six positive words (words that build up) to replace one negative word (words that destroy). A Harvard Business study showed that the highest performing teams have about 5.6 or six positive things said to them per each negative statement that is said to them. This is very intriguing to me but we have known this to be true from what the Bible teaches us for a very long time.
Proverbs 11:9 says, “Evil words destroy one’s friends, wise discernment rescues the Godly.” Proverbs 15:1 says, “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but hard words stir up anger.” We also see this stated in Proverbs 15:4 where it says, “Gentle words bring life and health; a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit.” Finally, Ephesians 4:29 says, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”
Are you going to decide today to be a builder or will you be a destroyer. Once you destroy someone with your words, it takes a lot longer to build them back up (at least six more positive statements). Will your words be gentle or angry? Will your words bring health and life or will they destroy? Will your words be wholesome or will they crush someone’s spirit? Only you can decide today which one you will be. Will you be a builder or a destroyer? Who can you encourage today and build them up? Try going one day by just encouraging all those that you come into contact with today.
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