The cat in today's blog picture was a cat named Ugly. Ugly was the resident tom cat who lived in an apartment complex where no one wanted him. Everyone called him Ugly. He had no home and no one to care for him. He would later die in the arms of an apartment resident who found him after he was mauled by two dogs. This resident was the only person who had ever shown Ugly any love or compassion. Ugly looked for love all of his life, even to the end.
Why is this story important and what does it have to do with anything you ask?
The answer is simple. A name and our words mean everything. A name and our words can bring life or death, love or hate, acceptance or rejection. In Ugly's case he was given a horrible name because of the way he looked. His name and other's words and unkind actions perpetuated his treatment and eventual death.
The same can be said for how we treat people, the names we give them and the things we say to them. Do you want to be responsible for someone's ill treatment? Do you want your words to be the deciding factor in whether a person chooses to live or die? I know this might sound harsh but I have seen it play out in real life, not just in stories or movies.
What we say to people and how we treat them goes to their heart level. This can affect how they see themselves, their world and even their own self worth. My late husband had many unkind things said to him as a child and he was called terrible names. Those unkind words and names stuck. He believed them. They became his life narratives if you will that played over and over in his head. Eventually, he would use the same words and names to hurt others because he was hurting. Eventually those narratives killed everything he had hoped to love and they killed him too.
Many people are "starving" for a kind word or just to be noticed. Many people are also on the brink of death because of the words of others. Many people are hurting other people because of the words of others. Many people are like Ugly the cat - looking for love, understanding and compassion. And many times in all the wrong places.
I want to encourage all of you to speak life to people, for death and life are in the power of the tongue (James 18:21a). Don't wait to show compassion and love to others, who like Ugly the cat, are desperate for connection and care. You may save a life or you may change the entire course of someone's life for the good. Words and names are everything.
Until next time,