At our Spring Family Night at the end of April we had a photo booth for kids and families. Since the theme of the event was Lutherhaven’s summer theme “Speak Life,” in the photo booth were speech bubbles on sticks. Each bubble had a word or phrase on it that was life giving: grace, hope, peace, and love were just some of those words. People had a lot of fun choosing what would emanate from their lips in the picture. It was almost like putting a filter on a snap chat only instead of dog ears and a rainbow coming out of the person’s mouth in the picture, they were words of life.
Proverbs 18:21 says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.” Now that’s a bit of Godly wisdom that flies in the face of the old adage about sticks and stones. Words can really be deadly to family relationships, personal friendships, but even interactions between total strangers as their first words to each other can set the tone for every future encounter they may or may not have.
In a book on parenting, which I’ve read recently, the author, a pediatrician and psychologist named Dr. Leonard Sax, talks about the culture of disrespect that exists in today’s society in America and how pervasive it is among our youth. The disrespect is not just outright rudeness or offensive language, but it shows up backhanded ways of speaking to other people even in jest that poke fun and put down. All that is to say that speaking life is a lost art in our world and if only speaking life were as easy as handing someone a bubble a stick, we could host that photo booth in every corner of Spokane and it would change the tenor of our city.
In all seriousness, there’s an easier way than hosting a speech bubble photo booth, we can actually speak life giving words ourselves. Jesus did. He said in John 6:63, “The words I have spoken to you are Spirit and life.” His words of forgiveness and grace from the Heavenly Father are what have brought us life and the Spirit who was in Jesus word’s is the same Spirit that is living in us, who believe in him. Every week we leave worship and fan out to all corners of Spokane. If what comes out of our lips are words that encourage, build up, forgive, and applaud in the name of Jesus, we can have an effect on the tenor of our city.
So you don’t need to go around with a speech bubble on a stick to do that, but perhaps before we speak, thinking to ourselves “Would I want a picture of myself with these words printed on a speech bubble coming out of my mouth?”
Hopefully the answer is YES.