Two weeks ago, I wrote about a trip that I took to Rome. That was actually a part of a multi-city, European vacation. The first city on the itinerary was Madrid, Spain. Madrid is a very lively city. There was a so much to do and see in the Spanish capital. We spent most of our time downtown, where there would be thousands of people flooding the streets in the evenings. The street that housed most of the attractions, stores, theatres, and restaurants is called Gran Via.
On our second day there, we were walking down Gran Via and checking out all that there was to see when we started to get hungry. There was a myriad of options as to where we could stop to eat. However, we were looking for one particular dish, paella. Paella is a Spanish cuisine traditionally made with rice and seafood. As we passed by each restaurant, we would look at the menu until we finally found one serving paella.
We walked in, and I said, “Una mesa, por favor” (a table, please). That was about the extent of my Spanish speaking ability. The woman at the desk then started talking, rather quickly, to us in Spanish. We had no idea what she was saying. Eventually, she asked, “Eat or drink?” To which I responded, “Both?” What she was actually asking was if we were there to have lunch or to get a drink at the bar. My brain did not process that. She then asked, “Do you have a reservation?” I said, “No.” She asked again, but much more incredulously, “No reservation!” I reaffirmed that we did not. She then turned to a waiter and, for about 5 minutes, went on an angry rant about us in Spanish.
Now, I have no idea what she actually said, but I know that was not happy with us. I have no idea what we did wrong. No, we did not have a reservation, but there was only three or four other people there. Eventually, we did get a table after waiting for about twenty minutes. The restaurant never came close to being full. The worst part was that the paella wasn’t even very good!
I tell you all of that because it made us feel incredibly unwelcomed there. We were just looking for some lunch and thought that would be a good spot. The waiter that served us was pleasant, but we never shook the feeling of how the woman made us feel when she was speaking to the waiter about us.
Words have power. What we say and how we say it has an impact on others. All too often, we use our words to tear down others. If you don’t believe me, look at how people have been talking to and about those who they disagree with politically. Better yet, how have you been talking about those with whom you disagree? Ephesians 4:29 says, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” That is how Christians should be speaking to and about others. Unfortunately, we tend to use our words to cutdown, chastise , and condemn others.
Our language should be a language of love. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 13 that if we don’t have love, then we are just noisy gongs and, ultimately, nothing. We need to use our words to build others up, not tear them down. Much like the woman at the restaurant, we can make people feel as though they are unwelcomed in the Kingdom of God by our words. We have to choose our words wisely. Our words have a direct impact on how people perceive who God is and how God feels about them. We need to choose to use the language of love. We need to let people hear the love of God in how we speak to and about each other. Our words have power. It is up to us whether we will use that power to build others up or to tear them down.
Thank you for taking the time to read this today. I hope that you found some encouragement in what I wrote. If you did, please like and share this post and share it. It would mean the world to me! Remember, I love you, but most importantly, God loves you.