Monday, April 16, 2007

Harmful Silence

If you have the chance to encourage someone’s art, or help him or her in some way, do it. If you don't you are one of two things: Jealous, or insecure. If you know someone that is an artist, and they are trying to bring some beauty into this world and you decide to NOT encourage them, I am going to so bold as saying your are being the complete anti-Christian in that moment. Encouragement is a gift of the Spirit. If you intentionally miss the opportunities to encourage or help, you are following a dirty, dank, hurtful, shameful part of your soul. You are putting yourself before others and it is hurtful, and shameful. It amazing how one encouragement can change a life and then how intentional silence can harm. Let me tell you, GOD SEES BOTH.

There have been times in my life where I have seen someone succeeding or with the potential to be successful and I have passed up the chance to encourage them out of selfishness or jealousy. I basically did what this picture is doing, but with my silence. I regret every single missed chance, and harmful silence. "Give and it will be given to you..." He isn't just talking about cash here.

Furthermore, if you only do things or help people because they will be an asset to you or your career then you are being anti-Christian as well. If you only lavish praise on someone because of a position that they hold in the corporate world, then you are nothing but a kiss-ass. Worse, you are a slave to your serpentine pride. Be wary of those who bring gifts and aren't generous to others. They are usually spiteful to others and they are being generous to you for a reason. Examine the gift and the angle. It is better to reject those gifts that are presented for selfish gain like sudden favors. They deceitfully try to make you feel special but really, if there weren’t the possibility of you helping them or doing something for them, they wouldn't give you the time of day. In fact later, they will EXPECT something. We have a word for it in the corporate world to make everything O.K: Networking. They also have a word for it in the criminal world: Mafia.

Christians are COMMANDED to be better than this. That kind of Networking is done out of a total selfishness. Step beyond that and think only of the good of someone else. Even if that means that they will exceed beyond your position and you get nothing. I heard a song once say, "It is an inside-upside-down kingdom." When you intentionally miss the opportunity to encourage or lift-up someone, you harm them, you harm Christ, and you grieve the Holy Spirit.

If someone encourages you, recieve it graciously. Even if you don't respect their opinion. It meant something to them and that is huge. If you encourage and it is met with an arrogant response, do not be offended. You did your job and God will honor that. Pray for them and move on encourging others.

Find an oppurtunity to encourge someone to day and take it. You'll be amazed at what it can do.

"The tongue has the power of life and death" (Proverbs 18:21)

"Therefore encourage each other" (1 Thessalonians 4:18)

12 comments:

Mz Jackson said...

Preach it brotha!! We should all become confident enough in ourselves and our own callings in life that we're not afraid to give someone else a word of encouragement.
New blog name, in case you're wondering.

Seth Ward said...

Very true. VERY true. Usually a lack of encouragement stems from a real discontent.

Susanne said...

I'm going to encourage someone right now...you're a very talented musician, Seth, and I always enjoy hearing you play/sing! Encouraging someone else always makes me feel better too. :)

Seth Ward said...

Ha! Thanks Susanne. I hope that didn't sound like a big encourge ME blog!

Its funny how sometime you blog with something in mind and it can come off as something else. But regardless, thank you very, very much.

Rob said...

We don't often stop to think about how the words we use affect the people around us. A simple means-nothing-at-all remark or joke often hurts far beyond out intent.

I believe strongly in the power of encouragement. I know encouragement (or the lack of it) has an almost unhealthy effect on me. Other people seem to be less affected, but I think everyone notices. I guess it's my "love language" if you're into that terminology.

As my father-in-law was prone to say, "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all." There's some wisdom in that, but as you point out Seth, it only goes half way. We really need to find some way to be a constant encouragement to the people around us.

Want your marriage to succeed? I venture to say that if you consistently and constantly encouraged your spouse you'd be a much-loved partner!

darin said...

excellent stuff Seth
i relate to it real well
especially envy
man i'm an idiot

Reijn of the Elfin Muse said...

here here! I just came back from the opening night of an art show in Arlington. (Ulterior Motiefs no. 10) And it was interesting walking around with alot of the artists being shown there. There were the humble ones who were just thankful for being there, and then there were the ones who would stand back and look at thier own piece and think (and sometimes say), "now look what i did! Don't you think so too?!" Sometimes the smallest word to even the most talented artist goes a long way. We are all human and we all need support and a good word from eachother. I remember seeing Bonnie Young's eyes tear up when i told her that i absolutely adored her work, and would be envious if i could ever take classes from her.

Just afew words go a long way!

Susanne said...

So many times we dwell on things that we don't like about people, and we don't think about how many things we DO like.

Good marital advice, Rob! I'm with you...a word of encouragement goes further than even a hug with me. And those negative words can really hurt. We should always try to lift each other up.

Chaotic Hammer said...

Seth - I know you are honestly addressing an important issue here, and not fishing for compliments. But I'm with Susanne on this -- you and Amber are absolutely fantastic artists, on so many levels, and I deeply admire and enjoy your work.

Brant said...

Thanks for this post. You're dead-on. And thanks for being an encourager, and slow to offense.

Seth Ward said...

Back at you buddy!

MamasBoy said...

Seth/Rob,

Thanks for the post/comment. One of my New Years resolutions this year was to only use gentle words with my wife. Too often I fall short of that goal. It's always good to read a reminder with a twist.

MB