Are you building up or tearing down?
Have you ever watched a water bug walking on top of the water? He can walk across the top of the water just as we walk on cement. Imagine yourself throwing a rock in the water near the bug. The rock disappears into the water, but the effects of the rock are much larger than the actual splash where the rock entered the water. The hole where the rock disappeared is gone, but the ripples from the disturbance begin growing in an ever-widening circle.

Now imagine yourself as the water bug. If the ripples were large enough they would wash over you. If they were not so large you would ride up and over the ripples as they passed by. If more rocks are thrown they, too, will create ripples. The ripples from the rocks will begin crossing over each other. You (poor bug!) have to deal with the disturbances as best you can.

Now imagine yourself as one of the rocks being thrown in the water. You make a disturbance of ripples that grows out and away from where you entered the water. The ripples you caused continue growing until they mix with another disturbance, or they bump into something and begin rolling back in the direction from which they came, or the circle of ripples grows so large the ripples finally fade away.

Your actions as a human are like the ripples on the water. The things you do and the things you say create a disturbance (ripples) in the world. You can create good ripples or bad ones. An example of a good ripple would be when you comfort someone who is hurting. Once they are comforted they can then go out and create another ripple by ministering to someone else because your smaller ripple of comfort has given them the strength to make another good ripple.

Another example of a ripple would be when you send a card to encourage someone. Your small ripple of encouragement may cause that person to be able to be lifted up enough to encourage other people that day. Then those other people may encourage others and create ever widening ripples of encouragement which started with your tiny ripple.

You also have the power to create bad ripples in the same manner. If you use just one harsh word you may ruin a person's day or you could even do major damage to their self esteem. That person may lash out at others or may become discouraged and create an ever-widening circle of unhappy faces as they spread their discouragement in turn. Your small act may create a huge ripple of sadness.

The difference between the ripples you send through your actions and the ripples a rock causes in the water is that the water ripples do end up fading away without a trace. The ripples from your actions may cause wounds and scars that never fade away.

Whenever you are tempted to do or say something that may hurt someone, think of the huge amount of damage that could result. Keep in mind that when you are dealing with other people you are always going to create ripples of some kind. It is your choice to create good ones or bad ones. The good ones build people up and the bad ones tear them down. It is up to you.

"Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers."
Ephesians 4:29
"I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace."
Ephesians 4:1-3
"Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith."
Galatians 6:7-10
"But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison."
James 3:8

God is willing that you edify other people. He is ready, willing, and able to help you. With His help you can tame your tongue, you can speak edifying words, you can know what things will build others up, and you can create unending ripples of love and encouragement. The strength you might need to create those ripples comes from God. Remember, you have a choice. Be a builder, not a bulldozer!


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