The Power of Life and Death

“Great job, Kyle”
“Keep it up, Kyle”

I kept hearing people cheer me on as I started the run portion of my Ironman race. And everyone was calling me by my name…

All I could think to myself was “how do all these people know my name?”. In fact, I must’ve looked so confused that someone actually said to me “your name is on your bib”. HAHA! Picture the embarrassed look on my face!

The bike course was lined with people and in some areas it created a Tour de France kind of feel as you went through a tunnel of supporters while climbing hills! Each person seemingly in your face as they cheer you on!

“The power of life and death is in the tongue”. This comes from Proverbs 18:21. I interpret this as understanding that our words matter. We can lift people up or tear people down by what we say to them. Really important to note, this also includes the words that we say to OUR SELF in our head!

I had family and friends come out to support and encourage me on the day of my Ironman race. I had many others text or message me to encourage me. And every single one of those spoken or written words lifted me up and I really believe was a big help in getting me to that finish line.

But I’ve also been on the other side of this, the recipient of words said that have been hurtful and brought me down out of malicious intent. And I’m going to guess that you have been there too. Hurts, doesn’t it?

As the author of the Proverb says, the impact is “Life and Death” on the person you are speaking to. Whoa. That’s pretty impactful! Consider for a moment that you can speak LIFE into someone. I think that’s incredible when you stop and think about it!

They say that 35,000 – 40,000 people show up to spectate and watch the Ironman in Madison. I felt the power of this Proverb that day and it gives me the chills just thinking about it! But don’t lose the message in that broad context, you don’t have to be watching a race to encourage someone and speak life into them…

I remember a time last summer, one of my first few weeks as a stay at home dad, Cal and I were at a local mall and as I was pushing a stroller with a fussy 4 month old, an elderly woman walked over to me. As she smiled at me she said “you’re doing a great job, dad”! I’ll never forget how that made me feel! What a lift in my spirit!

Or the time my mother-in-law texted me and told me how much she appreciated the sacrifice I was making to my career by staying home to be with Cal for this period of life we’re in. Wow! That was SO encouraging and I didn’t know how much I needed to hear that until I heard that!

It’s really quite simple. We should choose our words wisely knowing the magnitude of the impact; life or death. Choose to be kind, lift up, encourage, love!

We have the ability to speak life into someone else’s day. Let’s go do it!

Leave a Reply