The conversation ended, and I felt hollow.
The words spoken sucked the joy right out of me and dried up my soul. I knew I should not engage in such a thorny conversation. But the poisonous seeds were quickly scattered, and I didn’t know how to stop them from taking root in the soil of my heart.
I opened up my Bible and exposed myself to the Light:
Turn away from evil and do good. Search for peace and work to maintain it.
~ I Peter 3:11, NLT
I want my life to speak shalom and nourish the weary and wounded.
In Never Unfriended, Lisa Jo Baker defines “shalom” as “caring about someone’s safety and soundness in body, welfare, prosperity, peace and contentment, friendship and good health…caring deeply about seeing conflict come to an end…passionately invested in seeking the well-being of others…living into the Great Commission to become a blessing to the people around us…”
I know I can’t speak peace without the help of the Peace Maker, so tonight I went digging deep into the Scriptures for His instructional help, and I found a passage where Paul shows us how to put this into practice.
4 Ways to Speak Shalom
Choose to bless, not browbeat. Speak kindness to those in your circle of influence. A sweet word is nourishing to the soul.
May God give you grace and peace. (I Thessalonians 1:1, NLT)
Live like a noticer, not a nitpicker. Verbalize your appreciation for the constant contributions of those you rub shoulders with each day. Say a simple thank you to soothe a weary heart.
We always thank God for all of you and pray for you constantly. As we pray to our God and Father about you, we think of your faithful work, your loving deeds, and the enduring hope you have because of our Lord Jesus Christ. (vs. 2-3)
Suit up as a cheerleader, not a condemner. Affirm the character of those journeying alongside of you. Stand up beside them in support of their bents and gifts.
We know, dear brothers and sisters, that God loves you and has chosen you to be his own people. For when we brought you the Good News, it was not only with words but also with power, for the Holy Spirit gave you full assurance that what we said was true. And you know of our concern for you from the way we lived when we were with you. (vs 4-5)
Determine to promote, rather than poison. Applaud the courageous who fling fear aside to fulfill their callings. Celebrate the wonderful work of redemption evidenced in resurrected lives.
So you received the message with joy from the Holy Spirit in spite of the severe suffering it brought you. In this way, you imitated both us and the Lord. As a result, you have become an example to all the believers in Greece—throughout both Macedonia and Achaia. (vs 6-7)
Purpose to speak Shalom over your people.
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