Of Money and Mouths

Blog / Produced by The High Calling
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What is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor. You made him ruler over the works of your hands; you put everything under his feet. Psalm 8:4-6

In my hand, I hold a crisp new $20 bill. Want it? I thought so. Before I give it to you, let me take a pencil and mark on it. Still want it? Okay, but let me just crumple it up into a tight ball. Still want it now? Fine, but hang on until I drop it on the floor and grind my heel into it. You sure you still want it? And of course, you say, "Yes!" The marked up, beat up, scuffed up bill is nothing like the pretty $20 bill just out of the ATM. But you remind me that the bill’s appearance doesn't affect its value. That's true. A $20 bill is worth $20 regardless of how it looks.

Too bad we don't more often treat people the way we treat cash, because a person has worth and value to God that far exceeds mere money. Psalm 8 tells us that God made people—all people—one step below the angels and crowned them with glory and honor. As pastor and author Bruce Larson likes to say, each person is a "unique and unrepeatable miracle of God's grace." Moreover, God has invested authority in us—not some of us, but all of us—to be stewards of His creation. At Eastern Orthodox weddings, the bride and groom wear crowns regardless of their stations in life, for they are a king and a queen in God's eyes, a new royal family.

From this perspective, it's easier to see how our trash-talk to and about others create both social and spiritual problems for us. We cheapen people when we talk down to them and use them as verbal punching bags to vent our anger. When parents continually demean their children, kids take it to heart and self-esteem plummets. And when we tear down others, our words and actions put us in danger of holding the Creator in contempt as well.

What's the antidote? The apostle Paul reminds us that our talk should honor and encourage others. 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." When I was a kid, my dad used to tell me, "Little bricks build the wall." What we say and how we say it are bricks we lay that can build up someone. Let us resolve today to above all see the value of people to God; then find ways to speak words that honor and value the people we meet, and encourage them to become the people God created them to be.