Our world is filled with negative noise, from the playing field to press conferences to political platforms. If we are offended, culture encourages us to express it. Then we are outraged at one another’s outrage.
Father, I have played my part. I’ve added to a chorus of criticism. Not only in public matters but in my private circles, I have sought to tear down. I’ve been easily offended and vocally so.
I’ve not chosen the way of love when I’ve been silent about the things that matter and outraged about the things that don’t, in the end.
But You have given me life that I might be a voice for life.
Your Word says – “For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And He died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for Him who died for them and was raised again. So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view.” (2 Corinthians 5:14 – 16)
Your Son died for my life. My neighbor’s life. The sex slave’s life. The black man’s life. The refugee’s life. The unborn baby’s life.
That truth must radically transform how I see and treat life – whether young or old; rich or poor; American or foreign; white or black; able-bodied or impaired; slave or free; weak or strong.
Your Word also tells us that the tongue has the power of life and death. We “speak life” when our words and actions honor the inherent value in every person You have created.
Sometimes speaking life doesn’t involve words at all. How we treat our brothers and sisters on a day-to-day basis, whether in the grocery line or online, speaks what our hearts believe about the sacredness of life.
Thank You for the kind stranger who walked me to my car with his umbrella to shield me from the pouring rain.
Father, give us eyes to see each other as Your children.
When virtual culture tempts us with enough separation to express opinions that we would never say to a person’s face, remind us that we are never away from Your presence. While a person in Seattle may never actually read the disparaging comment I wrote about her, You see it.
May the words of my mouth
and the meditation of my heart
be pleasing to you,
O Lord, my rock and my redeemer (Psalm 19:14).
Forgive me, Father, when my words, in whatever form they take, grieve Your heart. Who of us has never made a mistake or acted regretfully? When our critical words take the form of stones, release our grip, we pray.
Father, we ask You to cultivate Your grace in our hearts. Put Your plow to what is hardened. Give us the understanding that our words will sow blessing or curses. May our words reflect humility, like a broken seed gives life.
Remind us that our words and actions can build up or strip away layers of dignity in another person’s soul. The dignity is inherently there, because You have woven purpose into every person. But rejection and shame can wear our perceptions of ourselves down to near nothing. May we grasp our sacred responsibility to help our neighbors realize that they are more. More than their performance or their regrets, they are Your beloved.
And expand our understanding of our “neighbor,” meaning that we extend ourselves to people outside our zip codes.
Let the speakers of life recognize Your image in their friends, spouses, parents, pastors, students, co-workers, and children. Let Your voice pour through them like water, refreshing weary souls.
When we think ourselves to be small, remind us that our tongues possess power, like a ship’s tiny rudder. Let us not give in to the lie of insignificance, for the simplest, most heartfelt words or actions can steer a fellow traveler in the path of hope.
In moments of a friend’s grief, may we refuse the pressure to fix the pain. Let our willingness to be present, without words, reflect the incarnate Word made flesh.
When we are tempted toward a heated discussion without deliberation, may Your Spirit help us to speak life by staying silent. When we are tempted to ignore injustice, may Your Spirit quicken us to speak truth in love.
Father, help us to hold our words with open hands, that You may restrain or set them free.