Caps/Delete/Tab: How What We Say Matters


Over the past four weeks in Solar [middle school youth group], we’ve been talking about the power of words.

Have you ever been hurt by a put down? Have you ever put someone else down?

As humans we can be hurt by words and we can hurt others with words.

In the wise words of Dr. Phil, “I’ve said before, it takes 1,000 “Atta boys” to overcome one, “You’re worthless and no good.”

So, what do you think is stickier? A put down? Or a build up? Chances are, especially if you hear it regularly, you’re more likely to remember people pulling you down.

If our words are a reflection of our hearts, what then does putting down others say about our hearts? What are we putting into our hearts and minds to get that kind of thinking? What then can we do about watching our words and actions? ‘The lips of fools bring them strife, and their mouths invite a beating. The mouths of fools are their undoing, and their lips are a snare to their very lives.’ Proverbs 18v6-7

The next time you find yourself on the verge of putting someone else down, maybe even unintentionally, think CAPS LOCK, DELETE, AND TAB.

The CAPS LOCK represents the ‘Why?’ behind our hurtful words. We put down others to make ourselves feel bigger and better. To make them smaller.

I Peter 2v9 says you are a chosen people, God’s special possession. In Jeremiah, it says that God knew us before we were even in our mother’s wombs. In Matthew, Jesus says that he even knows how many hairs are on our head. If we knew our worth, our true worth in God, then the need to break others down to build ourselves up no longer loses its incentive.

What about the DELETE button on a computer? What does that do? It erases. And what do we do when we bully and insult others? The exact same thing. We delete little pieces of them.

Slowly we get them thinking less of themselves. Maybe those around them also begin to think less of them. When we put others down, we’re deleting their self esteem and confidence, making them think less of themselves.

You know what the truth of it is. The person you’re putting down isn’t perfect. ‘For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God’ Romans 3v23 [ESV]. But neither are you.

So, as cheesy as it sounds, what’s another option? How about TAB?

The Tab button doesn’t just push text along – it does it with great gusto! Wouldn’t it be great if in the same way, We could push each other along – and help each other grow and flourish. ‘Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.’ I Thessalonians 5v11

God loves each of us equally and each of us are his handiwork, are we respecting his Creation when we think less of others; when we think less of ourselves? Do you know what the greatest commandment is? Love God. And the second? Love each other as much as you love yourself.

So, if someone is really bad at singing, does it mean we tell them they are only the best singer ever! No.

Be genuine. Be honest. Be real. But also, be nice.

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