thatmom

real encouragement for real homeschooling moms

recognizing the ripple effect

Several years ago a family visited a Baptist church. Though the dad had attended church all of his life, he had never placed his trust in Christ and was even skeptical as his wife convinced them to visit that Sunday. Right after the service, a couple approached this family, welcoming them and inviting them out to lunch.

In the following weeks, the family returned to worship, came to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ and eventually that dad was called into full-time ministry. In fact, after attending seminary this man also became the pastor in his churches’ first church plant and he, along with his growing congregation, is experiencing the joy of winning men and women, boys and girls to Christ. That sweet, hospitable couple can now rejoice in God’s particular grace to them by using that one act of kindness to fulfill His own purposes. The ripple effect occurred and to God’s glory.

Another day, in another town, a family visited a small Baptist church. The father had been laid off from job after job and his large family was barely able to keep food on the table. The boys needed haircuts and the girls’ dresses were threadbare and too small. During the service, the wife of one deacon, who also worked at the local school, whispered loudly to her friends that she recognized the children and that they were on public aid. Disapproving stares and clucking tongues caused the parents to shift in their seats.

After the benediction, no one spoke to the parents and some of the children snickered and held their noses while gesturing toward the mom and dad. The pastor lingered toward the front of the church, hoping to avoid dealing again with one more needy family while the chairman of the deacons nervously slipped out the back door. They family never again came through the door of that church. In fact, they never again attended any church. As the children grew up and married, they, too, avoided church and eventually all were divorced. The father turned to alcohol to ease his pain and both he and his wife died without professing faith in Jesus Christ. The ripple effect occurred but to the church’s shame.

The last few months, as I have been immersed in spiritual abuse, first in theory as Cindy and I discussed it, and then in practice, as I have read the views of Doug Phillips on the subject of ectopic pregnancy, I have been overwhelmed by how our words and actions can affect others. I have been even more aware of how far reaching those actions can become. One word of condemnation, one unwarranted rebuke, or one harsh pronouncement can be the difference between inspiring a sister in Christ, spurring her on to good works, or driving her to make choices that will guarantee regret and hopelessness. One small word spoken from the lips of those who seek to encourage can mean the difference of making it just one more day through a difficult time or throwing in the towel and living in despair.

Today, Lord, let me remember this, especially as I interact with my children and as I seek to welcome others in your name.

“And all bare him witness, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth. And they said, Is not this Joseph’s son?´ Luke 4:22

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5 Comments»

  Irene wrote @

I really enjoyed this – very thought-provoking.

Would you mind if I forwarded the post to some friends via e-mail; I would include your name as the author, of course, and provide a link to your blog.

Please let me know.

  Koinonia Community wrote @

Very wise words. Our actions and words witnessed by others are the strongest evangelistic tools we possess. Our behavior and our words towards seekers does reverberate out to everyone they come in contact with….just like a smile.

Natalie

  thatmom wrote @

Irene, you are welcome to forward this to whomever. I pray that it will be a blessing.

  thatmom wrote @

HI Natalie. So glad to see you back in the blogging world!!!

  Koinonia Community wrote @

Thanks! It is great to be back.


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