“For you, God, have heard my vows; you have given me the heritage of those who fear your name.” Psalm 61:5 (NIV)
It’s been said that a child will live up to your lowest expectations. I tend to think that even nicknames we choose for our children (or pets) have a bearing on their future behavior. One of our children we nicknamed “Sneaky” from a very young age. We soon changed that nickname to one that was more positive because that child was beginning to live up to that expectation. We also nicknamed one our dogs “Chewy” and well…yeah, need I say more?
Bill and I are intentional about building a strong godly legacy in our children. God has given me a word each year to focus on, study, and learn how to integrate into my life. We have a family verse that points us back to our faith and how God can take seemingly impossible situations and work miracles. This past year we bought bracelets for our entire family – inscribed in all five is our family verse but then each bracelet had a specific trait/word representing each child. We have presented our children with plaques, mugs, and necklaces to further reinforce the word that God has laid on our hearts for our children.
I was having a conversation with a friend some time ago who shared with me a deathbed conversation between this person and a relative. The words spoken were of condemnation, not blessing, to my friend. My heart hurt for this person because the final moments shared left a legacy of bitterness and hurt, not blessing and hope.
While my very human perspective can’t understand how days before this person met Jesus face-to-face were spent tearing down a loved one, I do know we live in a broken world. I also know that when we are God’s children, our sins are covered by Jesus’ blood. This person stood before God for the first time and while the life lived was reviewed before the Father, the moment above shared was taken care of at the cross.
I also know that someday these two people will meet again in Heaven for all eternity. I know that in Heaven all sin is gone and from what I’ve read, we’re filled with a peace and joy that is indescribable. What I don’t know is this: Will we remember the hurts we caused others and have a chance to give a heavenly, perfect apology or will all memory of hurts be erased and we will interact with others without those hurts tarnishing the relationship? However God plans on healing earthly conflicts between imperfect people, I do believe that by the time we get to Heaven what happened on earth will be insignificant because we will view life from an eternal perspective.
My point isn’t to cast judgment on another’s actions but instead to be reminded that words matter. I have the choice to either build up those I love with life affirming words or tear them down with words spoken harshly. Once said, words can be forgiven but never taken back or easily forgotten.
I’m reminded once again how important it is to leave a legacy of love…here in the present and for the future. I want the words I speak to help remind those I love all they are in Christ with a hope of what else, with His help, they are becoming.
© Cheri Swalwell 2014