“You’ll never be any good. You’re too old to start now.”
The words were iffy, but the tone was loving, and I knew my friend meant well when he tried to dissuade me from taking up golf.
I ignored him. I mean, how did he know how good (or bad) I would be? I can spot an off-center window even if it’s just half-an-inch; surely, it couldn’t be that hard to line up a putt. It’s not like the hole moves, for crying out loud.
How hard could golf possibly be?
Pipe down, all you links-lovers out there. (I don’t really want an answer; that question was the rhetorical sort.) And besides, having played a grand total of two lessons, one clinic, and 12 holes now, I’ve pretty much got the picture.
You have to get the grip right. And keep your eye on the ball. And make that “L” thing with your arms. All on top of trying to find a skirt that looks halfway cute.
I get it, okay? It’s not easy.
Especially when every time you think about grabbing your clubs (and I’m up to three now; my plan is to learn them one at a time, then add on), you hear a voice in your head saying: You’ll never be good. You’re too old.
In fact, words satisfy the mind as much as fruit does the stomach; good talk is as gratifying as a good harvest. Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit–you choose.
That’s Proverbs 18:20-21 in The Message translation.
And it raises a couple good points. Like the fact that what we say (even in the nicest of ways, bless her heart) can build people up, or rip them apart. Our words can bear fruit…or bring poison.
And it’s up to us to decide.
But instead of dwelling on all the ways we’ve gone wrong (which would be like talking about how many times I chunked it in the clinic last week, which is how I wound up Celebrexed in the bed), let’s look at how we can do right.
Like, instead of cursing someone (whether it’s with a four-letter word, or a slur on their golf game–or their parenting style, or whatever), let’s look for ways to build up. Let’s be alert to the opportunities God gives us to encourage. To speak freedom and hope. To spark joy.
Let’s be Givers of Life.
But…let’s also be honest. On our own, this job might be tough. Our fuses are short, and our speech patterns (which in my case tilt toward sarcasm) may be pretty well set. Plus, Charles Krauthammer–who never used a bad word when a really good one would do–is gone.
Thankfully, though, we don’t have to go it alone. We can enlist the Lord’s help. Even now, Philippians 2:13 reminds us, he is at work, giving us the desire and the power to do (and say!) what is good.
Even (and maybe especially?) when we run into somebody who looks like they could use a blessing–some sort of hopeful and encouraging word–spoken over their golf game. 🙂
Let us be speakers of life! Let no unwholesome talk come out of our mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. (Ephesians 4:29)