One look in my fridge and we all realize I do NOT have the Midas touch. Gold? Um, no. It’s pretty clear from the blue-green glow coming from inside that fridge that most things I touch turn to fuzz. Fur-covered macaroni, spotted cheese and spaghetti that seems to have grown its own meatballs. Ew. I think I have something closer to the “Mold-us” touch.
I admit it. Cleaning the fridge is generally way too far down the line on my list of priorities. I’ve brought more than one box of baking soda to its knees.
I hope I’ll never be casual, though, about how I touch others with my words, and how those words affect and influence people. Ephesians 4:15 refers to “speaking the truth in love.” Truth. Love. We really have to have both. Truth without love is harsh. But love without truth is fruitless.
It’s easy to say what we think others want to hear. Easy, but not fruitful. I want my words to touch lives in ways that will make a difference. That doesn’t always mean saying things that are warm and fuzzy (and by the way, that’s not a reference to that moldy kind of fuzzy). Sometimes helpful words are the kind that sting a little.
Ecclesiastes 12:11 says, “The words of the wise are like cattle prods—painful but helpful. Their collected sayings are like a nail-studded stick with which a shepherd drives the sheep.” Cattle-prodding words. I really get a charge out of that visual.
It goes both ways. I appreciate my closest friends who lovingly “herd” me in the right direction with caring words of wisdom. A painful poke instead of a tickle? I’m telling you, I’ll take the jab of truth any day. I’d rather head the right direction after a stinging prod than to continue down the wrong road, all the while hearing everything’s fine and I’m doing great things.
Value truthful words from a trusted friend. They’re more precious than the insincere, say-whatever-you-want-to-hear words of a flatterer. Give your faithful friends the freedom to tell you the truth even when it smarts. Those stinging truths are often the ones God can use to polish your character and make you more like Christ. Proverbs 27:6 says, “Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.” Another version puts it this way: “You can trust a friend who corrects you, but kisses from an enemy are nothing but lies.”
If you don’t have a friend who will speak the truth in love to you, be on the lookout for one. Ask God to provide that friend for you who can help add just the spit-shine you’re needing in your life.
Loving words of truth and wisdom. Now there’s something I don’t want to let slide down my list of priorities. Ever.
The fridge-cleaning? Okay, a spit-shine could definitely stand to come up the priority list a notch or two. Especially after last week. Who knew a bag of lettuce could totally liquefy?
RHONDA RHEA / contributing columnist