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The Power of Words

Friends Don’t Knock Down Your Tower

There are people who build up and people who tear down.

He came home from preschool and was telling me about his day. My son was four and was into building large towers out of the oversized wooden blocks at his preschool. This day, he mentioned that Dustin had knocked down his tower.

“I thought Dustin was your friend,” I commented.

“Well, he’s not,” said my son matter of factly. Friends don’t knock down your tower.”

He’s said a lot of clever things in his life, and he probably doesn’t remember these words of wisdom. But I never forgot them.

Some people build up others. They are encouragers and appreciators. They are kind, observant, and helpful. They’re the people we need to be, and also the people we need in our lives.

Some people tear down others. They criticize and complain. They point out everything wrong with what we’re doing. They make life less pleasant and more difficult.

Who would you rather have in your life—someone who builds you up or someone who tears you down? That’s a rhetorical question. We all prefer someone who edifies rather than someone who is negative and hurtful

Building people up is more than just a nice trait. It’s an instruction from God. Here’s some Bible:

“So encourage each other and build each other up…” (1 Thessalonians 5:11)

“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs…” (Ephesians 4:29)

“So then, let us aim for harmony in the church and try to build each other up.” (Romans 14:19)

I’m convinced our words and our actions should build others up, not tear them down.

Here are two questions to think about:

  1. Do your words edify, encourage, and strengthen others?
  2. Are there people in your life who edify, encourage, and strengthen you?

Y’all, the world has plenty of people who will knock down our towers. We don’t need to add to their ranks. We need to be people who speak a kind word about someone’s tower and then hand them the block they need next to keep building . And we need to appreciate those amazing people in our lives who do that for us.

Dear God, thank you for the people in my life who have encouraged me and built me up. Help me be that person in the lives of others. Help me build others up and stop my words before I say anything that discourages someone or drags someone down. In Jesus’s name, amen.

When have you received a timely word of encouragement? Let us know about it in the comments!

Lean on Me

“Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)

Pastor Jentezen Franklin tells the story of a small country church. At the end of each service, the pastor always asked someone in the congregation to pray the benediction. There was one man, an old farmer, who the pastor called on occasionally to offer the concluding prayer. This man always finished his prayer by saying, “And, Lord, prop us up on our leaning side.”

When the pastor asked the farmer what he meant, the farmer told the pastor about an old barn on his farm. One day, the farmer noticed the old barn was starting to lean. It had weathered many years and many storms. The farmer knew the barn wouldn’t continue to stand without some support, so he made pine beams and used them to brace the barn. The farmer said, “It’s still leans, but it’s not falling down because I propped it up on its leaning side. Sometimes I’m like that old barn. I get to leaning toward anger, or fear, or hatred, and then I ask the Lord to prop me up on my leaning side.

We’re a lot like that old barn. Just like the Bill Withers song says, “We all need somebody to lean on.” We’re created to be leaners. It’s OK to lean on other people. Moses leaned on Aaron. David leaned on Jonathan. We aren’t meant to live in isolation. We’re meant to have people who support us along the way. It’s important to let others lean on us. Sometimes, we need to be the one who encourages and supports our friends and family. But, it’s not OK to lean on people instead of God.

After David killed Goliath, King Saul became jealous of David and determined to kill him. (We can read the story in 1 Samuel, chapter 19.) David desperately needed aid and support. But one by one, the people he leaned on most disappointed him. King Saul, who at one time loved David, now wanted him dead. David’s wife lied to King Saul about him. His mentor, Samuel tried to hide David, but Saul discovered his hiding place. David’s support system and his own efforts weren’t enough to prop him up.

David was reminded to lean on God.

Never confuse the help offered by friends or family with the supernatural deliverance available from God. People who love us are gifts from God, and they breathe support and encouragement into our lives. But ultimately, it is God’s victorious right hand that props us up, gives us strength, and keeps us from falling.

Dear God, there are times in my life when I need support. Thank you for friends and family who love me and support me. Help me be there to support others when they need someone to lean on. Most importantly, help me never forget that it is your power and love that holds me up and keeps me from falling. Let me learn to lean on you. In Jesus’s name, amen.