Proverbs 27:14 is a strange verse, isn’t it? “If a man loudly blesses his neighbor in the morning, it will be taken as a curse.” A curse? Really? Isn’t that a bit harsh?
At first glance, it might seem like God actually cares about whether we bless our neighbors in the morning or in the afternoon. haha. But alas, that is thankfully NOT the case.
My spiritual gift is encouragement. Blessing others and offering encouragement comes easy to me…sometimes too easy. I was a cheerleader in high school, a financial adviser after graduating from college, a women’s ministry leader in young adulthood, and I’m now a mom to two very cute special needs kiddos. It appears encouragement is my detail.
While God doesn’t care about how or when we encourage or bless others, He very much cares about the intent and heart behind it. I care too, don’t you? If in a large group, for instance, someone says out loud: “Melanie, you are a good mother” … those words don’t mean near as much to me as when I’m alone with someone and they same the very same thing. For my ears only. The exact words bear more weight when spoken privately. But why?
Sincerity is perhaps never more beautifully pronounced than when words are spoken in those quiet intentional moments, face to face, one on one. But those moments are uncomfortable, aren’t they? To look someone in the eyes and to express the truest part of your heart to them is difficult because it requires us to tear down our walls and be vulnerable. As prideful human beings, we don’t like that too much. We fear rejection, judgment, or even apathy. Give us a computer or cell phone, however, and we can type away:
- Your smile is beautiful!
- Great looking kids!
- I love you!
- I hope to see you soon!
- I remember all of our good times!
- You’re such a great person!
Put us face to face….all alone….and the words don’t come as easy. Intimacy, however, was created by God when He chose us for communion with Him. “You are My friends,” He tells us. Corporate prayers, while sometimes magnificent to hear, are probably put on pause or mute by our Father who wants to hear our hearts. Let it sink in for a minute. He has called us His friends.
My favorite people on earth, without exception, are part of the special needs community. Until I take my last breath, I will believe they were created to teach us all about this subject. With no desire to manipulate, to gain an advantage, or to impress, they speak from their hearts. Katie, she grabs my face with the most tender hands and says: “I think you’re a beautiful angel.” She means it, and every time, I tear up. The honesty is almost too much. Heather, hooking her arm around my neck the way she does, says: “You’re so good to me, and I love you, buddy,” before kissing me on the cheek. In response, I just want to burst. In that same way, just like Katie and Heather, we need to speak and listen to one another’s hearts…honestly and openly spreading love to a world that is starving for it. That, I believe, is the point of Proverbs 27:14.
Click here for a quick laugh and to see Mona & Claudette’s take on the subject:
With Blessings, The Truest of Hearts, & Laughter!