I receive many emails each week from blog readers who encourage me about the things I share in my rambling posts and devotions. By taking those few minutes to send me a hug and share a little of how this blog lifts their day they are inspiring me to be a better Jenny, a more thoughtful and appreciative person, and to seek more deeply the riches of a life lived for Jesus.
Unlike ripples in a pond which clearly spread in widening circles after a pebble is tossed into the water, when we take time to encourage each other we rarely see how far that blessing will travel, but believe me, it does travel.
When we encourage, we are teaching others to encourage.
When we inspire, we help others to inspire.
When we offer genuine praise, we are building one another up.
When we serve with a full heart, we are walking in humility and displaying Christ in our character, just as He who made Himself a servant displayed to us through His own example when He walked and lived among men.
But there are times when we do not stop to think about another, our mind being self-focused on our own agenda or troubles. We probably have no intention of being mean or careless with our words and actions, yet we are, and instead of being an encourager we stamp on others with our heavy boots of thoughtlessness.
Yes, perhaps we're having a bad week or life is nothing more than a weary hike up Struggle Hill - but we can't use that as an excuse for our behaviour and responses. We just can't.
Christ hung on a cross, naked and shamed (Hebrews 12:2), yet still showed compassion (Luke 23:34).
This week I hurt a friend with a thoughtless comment in an email. It was the kind of tongue-in-cheek remark that would be fine if we'd been face to face and she'd seen my silly smile, but on paper it read criticism and thanklessness - and this dear girl had just selflessly helped me during a difficult week in her life.
If I had paused to think for a moment and considered her emotional head-space I would never have written that remark. How very sad that my omission of care would bring the sting of criticism upon a sister in Christ, a woman I admire so deeply, a child of God already suffering.
She still loves me and forgives me, and for that she has modeled Jesus.
She was the pebble thrown in my pond last week, and the ripples are still visible.
It's a humbling that was needed and a lesson in the importance of exhorting others. It was a very clear example of how words, even with no harm intended, can hurt.
I pray that in the future my heart would draw from this lesson so the Lord would make me a pebble too...
Download the printable Scripture card and devotion HERE.