I took advantage of a "break in the weather' yesterday and took down all of my outdoor Christmas lights. The "dismantling took about three hours." That surprised me because putting them all up took about three days! The contrast struck me: How much easier it is to "tear down" than to "build up!" Why is this so? The answer is that to "build something" (even an outdoor scene of Christmas lights" requires creativity, intention, purpose, and considerable effort. To tear something down is sort of easy...
The same is true when it comes to relationships. With one quick (thoughtless) harsh word we can: put someone down, hurt someone's feelings, intimidate or make another person feel humiliated. But to "build someone up" requires a certain attitude, tone, and careful selection of words. But the outcome is worth it. Care and careful reflection can result in a relationship that is cherished.
In the book of Proverbs we read...
There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts,
but the tongue of the wise brings healing.
(Pv. 12:18, ESV)
The lesson, I believe, is to "build wisely." We need to give thought not only to our Christmas lights (manger scene, Christmas tree) but also to our greatest Christmas gifts - our family and friends. The outcome of a prayerful, thoughtful, intentional life, is always a thing of beauty.
Dr. Allen Schneider is a United Methodist pastor and a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist presently serving the Sapulpa and greater Tulsa communities.