Thursday, May 10, 2007

The Power of a Spoken Word

Word came the other day of a very fine trumpet player currently making a name for himself in a prestigious orchestra. He is a top player, well-respected, and a rising star. Not long ago while on tour, things started to go seriously south for him. Consistency and confidence apparently never having been a problem, were suddenly spiraling out of control. The bad dream of not being able to do it was becoming his real nightmare. He had known success, and he had owned the stage. Yet he was fast approaching a brick wall and finding himself powerless to turn himself around. What was going on and why?

A lengthy period of recovery and rediscovery fortunately proved most beneficial for him. With some help, the problem was eventually pinpointed, and he is now back to his great playing in the orchestra again. In spite of all the praise and encouragement he had undoubtedly received from so many all through his past, there remained that one voice in his memory that had grown into a shout of doubt. The source of his problems was the discouraging word from his father. His repeated negative comment eventually began to topple his confidence.

At some point, as he was getting started in his career, his father had voiced a strong vote of no confidence in his son's chances of succeeding as an orchestral trumpet player. Probably trying to be protective and wanting his son to consider the odds he would face, the dad failed to grasp the power of his influence for better or for worse.

Why is it that even one discouraging comment can so easily obliterate all the confidence in the world? So much of life is a mind game! We will play the way we think. Maybe that is one of the many reasons that the Bible warns to guard our heart with all diligence, for out of it proceed all the issues of life. It has been said that we can only draw from the reserve that we have stored. What we take in will determine what we have to give out.

Death and life are in the power of the tongue, it says in Proverbs. It is awesome to consider the power and potential of our own influence upon others. Our words can be life-giving, or they can be like daggers. One's future success can be encouraged or greatly discouraged simply by a spoken word.

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