Words of Worth

Take a Lesson from Thumper

August 26, 2011

(Today’s blog is the second installment of the three questions posed by the gatekeepers we should have at the “door of our lips”. If you missed the first two, just scroll down and read the previous posts!)

In the Disney movie classic, Bambi, there’s a winsome little rabbit named Thumper who could have benefitted from having the second gatekeeper watching over his bunny lips. With all the forest animals gathered around observing the Prince of the Forest (baby Bambi) awkwardly attempt his first steps, Thumper childishly blurts out, “He doesn’t walk too good, does he?” Thumper’s mother quickly chides him for such an unkind comment and asks him to repeat what he had just learned from his father. Squirming just a little and with his paws behind his back, Thumper very carefully recites, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothing at all.”

We could all take a lesson from Thumper and it would only take stopping for just a moment, putting a hold on what is ready to proceed past the second gatekeeper and ask ourselves, “Is what I am thinking of saying really kind?” The root word of the transliteration of “kind” used in the Bible is closely related to the concept of being useful. A kind word will be useful; it will add value to the world of the person who hears it. Ephesians 4:29 reminds us that word scan build up or edify the listener actually giving them a measure of grace in a time of need.

“Be kind one to another” is more than just a platitude. Looking more closely at Ephesians 4:29-30, we can see that it concludes with “be tenderhearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also forgave us.” So it appears that a kind word could be the very first step – even if it’s a faltering and unsteady one like Bambi’s – toward the process of forgiveness.

“Wait just a minute,” you say. Kindness is linked to forgiveness? Isn’t kindness just telling someone they look nice or they have a flattering haircut? Sure it can be, but kindness is more than that and don’t forget it is easy to be kind to people we love or to those who beat us out of the starting gate by being kind to us. Kindness goes right past the surface and shoots straight to the heart. 1 Corinthians 13 states it rather plainly in three words, “Love is kind.” Never does the Bible suggest we should only be caring toward those who exhibit like behavior toward us. In fact, we are commanded to love our enemies and loving them will require being kind.

All of a sudden, the thought of having three gatekeepers seems overwhelming. Wouldn’t it be enough to just utilize the first one and focus on telling the truth? When you factor in forgiveness and being kind to enemies, telling the truth seems like a breeze. That should be enough right? Do we really have to be kind? Consider this verse:

“But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared,
He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness,
but according to His mercy…” Titus 3:4-5a

Nothing we accomplished in our own will merited the favor and kindness of God. He loves us and saved us despite our deeds not because of them. So when we consider His mercy towards us, shouldn’t we show mercy toward others, especially with our words? Wise words are kind words. Are your words kind? (CT)

“But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will sons of the Most High, for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men.” Luke 6:35

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