Speaking Into the Life of Others

Words satisfy the mind as much as fruit does the stomach;
    good talk is as gratifying as a good harvest.

 Words kill, words give life;
    they’re either poison or fruit—you choose.                                                                                                        Proverbs 18:20-21 (the Message)

Yesterday I talked about how people can speak into our lives things that we do not see- potentials that we would not have imagined without the input of others. There are instances that I spoke of yesterday with disciples like John and Simon Peter who lived up to, or into, the lives that Jesus saw for them.

Unfortunately, some people live below their God-given potentials because parents or others in positions of influence did not sow into them the belief that they could do things beyond which they could envision for themselves.

There was a study many years ago with teachers and first graders where students were tested to see the academic abilities they had in preparation for first grade. In one case, the gifted students were placed in a room with a teacher who was told that the students were average to below average students. In another room, less gifted children were placed with teachers who were told that these were gifted children.

In both cases, the children tended to live up to (or down to) the expectations placed upon them. Children who were not gifted, but treated as if they were, tended to outperform their expected outcomes.

I think that people often, for various reasons, perform better than they think they can because someone believes in them. We often hear of students who say that a particular teacher motivated them to do better than they ever had- academically and socially- because of the confidence placed in them, perhaps for the first time, by a caring adult.

I think it is our opportunity, indeed our responsibility, to build up others, not artificially, but genuinely. If may be as simple as an encouraging word, or following through with helping someone be accountable for what they say they are going to do. We have the power to unlock potential in others by simply being an encouragement to them and believing in them, even when people may not be confident in themselves.    

Prayer: Thank you Lord for the gift of encouragement. It is health to the soul, Amen

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