You’ve got sweet feet. The words just flew out of my mouth, and I just stared at the words as I have been so often known to do. I have always had a way with words. I suppose it goes with the territory of being called by God to preach and write. But, of course, my words have extraordinarily often come literally flying out of my mouth with me regarding their aftermath with utter – surprise? Disgust? Laughter? Shock? Suffice it to say I have been known to use words far too often for reasons other than my calling. And yet I can’t help but confess that oftentimes lately I have found myself considering the words that have come leaping and bounding out of my mouth with interest. For sometimes I have found a lesson in them, or a reminder perhaps, as I did when I carried disabled, senior dog Little Miss Miracles into the yard with an outburst of, “You have sweet feet!” The lesson? The reminder?
|Paralyzed Mr. Simeon with Little Miss Miracles and her disabled “sweet feet”….|
Little Miss Miracles, rescued this past year from neglect so severe she has literally received multiple miracles to be alive and as healthy as she is today, has what to some would be considered some of the ugliest, most awkward, most unusual, most get-in-the-way pair of front feet a dog could possibly have. Her feet, and legs, are so incredibly deformed that she can only walk short distances. And to even make it short distances, she has to cross one foot carefully over the other while her little back feet hobble forward in pursuit of the front ones. What happened? Who knows. A birth defect? Maybe. Or a severe injury. Abuse? Maybe. Only God knows.
Needless to say, when the words “You have sweet feet” came tumbling unexpectedly from my mouth, I realized immediately the lesson and reminder that I needed – and really could use on a daily basis. After spending decades being far too critical and judgmental for anyone’s good, and after using my mouth for years upon years to say hurtful things, and after losing zillions of opportunities to be positive instead of negative, and after countless times tearing down everything and everyone with my mouth instead of using my mouth for God’s glory, I am finally getting it.
God gave me a mouth to bring Him glory – to share the Gospel, yes, to teach His Word, yes, and to edify people. That’s right, to build them up. To bring grace to those listening, as the Bible instructs. This is not to say that people don’t need to be confronted at times, and that constructive “criticism” is not sometimes warranted, but all should be done in such a manner that God’s love is used in the process.
Sweet feet? Think about it. Not that Little Miss Miracles fully understood, or even remotely understood, the comment I had made. But the point is that in a world riddled by negativity, bad mouthing, gossip, criticism, judgment, and so much more, aren’t we all in desperate need of being lovingly encouraged instead of miserably torn down?
Even with our disabilities, from feet like Little Miss Miracles to who knows what, and despite our shortcomings, don’t we need to be raised up with God’s love instead of ripped to shreds? Imagine if every time we saw or felt something negative, we chose to see the positive, too?
And imagine instead of pointing the finger and criticizing or scorning or ridiculing someone that looks different than everyone else, we chose to emphasize something positive? Imagine if we saw, and acknowledged, God’s beauty instead of where someone falls short? Should we ignore what’s wrong? No. Should we pretend it doesn’t exist? Not if God wants us to say something about it.
But let us speak with words that edify. Let us lift up those who have been so torn down by a harsh world. Let us even humble ourselves to the point where we can cry out, “You’ve got sweet feet” to the one who stands out from the crowd. Most of all, more than anything else, let us even with our very words, let us love!
Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear. Ephesians 4:29
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