Life or Death

posted in: Latest News | 6

 

Written by Regional Coordinator Marty Shoup…

 

Death and life are in the power of the tongue. Proverbs 18:21

 

How true it is.

We’ve all seen-I’m sure countless times in our lives-the power our words have.

 

My oldest son (9 years old) and I were talking about this very thing less than a week ago. Someone (a relative) had said something to him- something unkind- and he was hurt by it.

He was confused.

He didn’t understand.

Why would someone who was supposed to love him, say something so hurtful?

 

Despair

 

So we talked about our words and how the things we say have consequences-sometimes good and sometimes bad.

We talked about how once something is spoken out loud- it can never be taken back- no matter how badly we may want to.

Even if this person were to come back and apologize–the words have been spoken and heard. An “injury” had been inflicted-and though it would heal-a scar would remain.

We talked about how words have the power to heal and the power to wound…the power to build up and the power to tear down.

I love you!

You’re so stupid!

Great job!

Can’t you do anything right??!!

That was a smart decision!

How many times do I have to tell you…..?!

I knew you could do it!

You’ll never amount to anything!

 

We talked too about the power of UNSPOKEN words.

Words that we SHOULD say, but sometimes don’t.

 

power of words

 

I’m sorry.

You’re special to me.

Forgive me.

I love you.

 

 

 

New Horizons recently received word about a suicide attempt at one of the orphanages we serve.

 A young lady threw herself out of a third story window.

 

Why? I don’t know.

But I’ve BEEN to that orphanage.

I’ve walked the halls.

I’ve SPOKEN with many of the children.

I’ve played UNO with them.

 

Did I meet this girl?

I don’t know.

But her present and future must have looked very bleak indeed if she saw taking her own life as the only way out

alone window

no hope.

miserable.

lost.

confused.

desperate.

alone.

 

What words had been spoken-or not spoken to her over the course of her young life that may have brought her to this point?

 

It is with mixed emotions that I’m able to relay that at last report, her attempt was not successful. Her body is broken but she is alive–and I praise God for that! But what of her heart?

 

As advocates and host parents, the power of words-both SPOKEN and UNSPOKEN can have a lasting–maybe eternal impact on “our” orphaned children.

While in the US for summer hosting, some kids will hear for the FIRST TIME–words that encourage and show love. Words of affection, patience, gentleness, kindness, understanding. Words that empower. Words that heal.

 

But the words that are UNSPOKEN are just as powerful.

 

You see, host families often don’t share about hosting, don’t speak about New Horizons, fearing a negative reaction from friends and relatives. (And they often get it.)

You’re doing WHAT???

Why would you want to do something like that?

What’s wrong with AMERICAN orphans?!

Sounds dangerous.

The church has enough on its plate. We can’t help.

no

It’s not like it’s going to make a difference.

Well, don’t look to me for any money. They’re not MY problem.

Are you crazy?!

You can’t afford that!

You don’t know anything ABOUT this kid!

The church does not support you in this!

Sounds like a waste of money to me!

Why don’t you worry about your own kids?!

Trying to save the world?

 

So…..

the desperate need…

the amazing opportunity…

the horrifying statistics…

the countless blessings…

the highest privilege…

 

goes unspoken

 

As you might imagine, we talk a lot about orphaned children and hosting at my house.

Not too long ago, someone asked my 9 year old: “What does your mom do?” (I’m pretty sure they wanted to know what I did for a LIVING.)

He responded with: “She talks about orphans and why it’s important to help them.”

(Yay!!!! I’m thrilled to know that he’s listening…but why doesn’t he listen when I ask him to brush his teeth?!)

 

Whether you are a host parent, the friend or relative of a host parent, a casual onlooker, an advocate or a critic–your words have POWER.

 

Wield that weapon with care.

You never know who’s listening and what your words will—-

inspire

or

stifle.

It could literally be the difference between life and death.

 

girl window butterfly

 

 

 

 

6 Responses

  1. When I returned, some said, “Oh, didn’t you just want to take them all home?” While my spirit wishes for an end to all destruction and poverty, my inclination wasn’t to bring people with me but rather to help instill dignity, purpose, hope, healing, and motivation to the lives of the Haitians who have felt beaten down for far too long, to help bring beauty to their current situation and empower them to work towards the redemption that is possible this side of heaven. I want to join in what God is already doing in Haiti, helping bring rescue because I’ve been rescued. I’m realizing the key is walking and dreaming together.

  2. When I returned, some said, “Oh, didn’t you just want to take them all home?” While my spirit wishes for an end to all destruction and poverty, my inclination wasn’t to bring people with me but rather to help instill dignity, purpose, hope, healing, and motivation to the lives of the Haitians who have felt beaten down for far too long, to help bring beauty to their current situation and empower them to work towards the redemption that is possible this side of heaven. I want to join in what God is already doing in Haiti, helping bring rescue because I’ve been rescued. I’m realizing the key is walking and dreaming together.

  3. As advocates and host parents, the power of words-both SPOKEN and UNSPOKEN can have a lasting–maybe eternal impact on “our” orphaned children.

  4. Angels, also, had a large part in the work of the first church. The early disciples were often protected and directed in their work by the angels. In this way they were delivered from imminent danger from earthly powers. An angel spoke to Philip, directing him to Gaza. An angel stood by Paul and talked with him, encouraging and directing him. Cornelius, his household, and his friends were led unto the way of salvation and into the baptism of the Holy Spirit through the words of an angel who came to him. This angel, appearing in bright apparel, talked with him, directing him to send for Peter and then departed. When Peter was in prison an angel rescued him. This angel loosened the chains from Peter’s hands, told him to put on his garments and shoes, opened the prison door and the city gate that was locked, and led Peter into the street.

  5. As advocates and host parents, the power of words-both SPOKEN and UNSPOKEN can have a lasting–maybe eternal impact on “our” orphaned children.

  6. I was so worried about the communication issues we might have. I could tell my husband was too, but we took it all in stride. I prepared little signs with Chinese and English words on them, had them laminated and placed them on the things around the house I thought our host son might need help with – shampoo, body wash, hand soap, toothpaste, and the dirty laundry basket. I also posted a procedure of how to use the toilet and laundry basket because of the cultural differences that come in those two areas. I posted the instructions first in English and then in Chinese. For the first few days we communicated through Google Translate. As I would type in what I wanted to tell him, I would say it out loud. I didn’t realize how important this was until about his fifth day here when he started speaking more and more English. It wasn’t that he didn’t know English – because let me tell you this little guy is pretty fluent – it was because of our accents and how he was used to hearing words pronounced. When he realized we were saying the same things and they just sounded differently, he opened up completely and has spoken English ever since!

Leave a Reply