The Bible says in Proverbs 15:4, “Gentle words bring life and health; a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit.”
Woven into the fabric of my being are the countless words spoken to me by the people who have meant the most to me over the years. Among those people are Pastor Dean Christianson, former Pastor of Washington Church, and my first real mentor. Pastor and counselor, Ed Bontraiger, is another man who spoke so much truth into my life. Pastor Jim Wellsand is another whose words have impacted me. Anyone who knows Pastor Jim is certainly familiar with his many, “Jimisms.” Perhaps no one’s words have had a greater influence on my life than that of my mom and dad.
About a month ago my co-worker sneezed and several of us who were nearby said, “God bless you.” She sneezed again, and again we said, “God bless you.” She sneezed again, at which point I said, “God bless you; now knock it off!” She laughed as I explained that this was something my mom would always say. This morning my co-worker told me that when she was out with her friend the other day her friend sneezed. She told her friend, “God bless you; now knock it off.” She then explained to her friend that where that silly phrase came from.
When I was a child my dad would take us on family outings, mostly to friends or relatives homes. When we would pull into our drive way back at home my father would often say, “Home again, home again, jiggidy jig.”
When you think of all of the wisdom passed down from your parents you might not think of such silly examples as these. When you think about all of the words spoken to you that make up who you are today you might not think about seemingly meaningless or arbitrary statements as theses, but I do. I am so blessed to have grown up in a home where laughter and fun were celebrated and God and family were important. It was in my parents’ home where I first heard those three most powerful words, “I love you.” They told us kids that all the time.
Now whenever someone keeps sneezing I say, “God bless you; now knock it off!” Often when I pull in the driveway of my home I say, “Home again, home again, jiggidy jig.” When I do I am reminded of the loving home where I was raised and I realize that those words are synonymous with these, “I love you.”
Every day you and I have the opportunity to be a Pastor Dean, Pastor Ed, or Pastor Jim to someone. We have the opportunity to use our words to build into someone’s life. If you are a parent, no matter how old your child is today, you have the opportunity, from this day forward, to pour into them words of life. Words that say, “I love you.”
I’d love to hear your story. What are some things your parents used to say? What is the wisdom they passed on to you? Leave a message in the comments below.