I did some secretarial work for John this morning and he thanked me. I answered with “my pleasure” and it reminded me of the mission trip that Joshua and I took to Costa Rica in 2013. Most of the time when we said “Gracias” to someone in Costa Rica, they answered with “Mucho gusto”, which means “gladly” or “my pleasure”. But occasionally we would say “Gracias” and we would hear “De nada” in response, meaning “no problem” or “don’t mention it”.
It struck me that “mucho gusto” or “my pleasure” felt like a “positive” response and “de nada” or “no problem” felt like a “negative” response. Subtle, but significant.
TobyMac released a song called “Speak Life” at the end of 2012, but I just started hearing it a couple weeks ago. At the end of his music video, he quotes Brennan Manning from the book “Abba’s Child”:
“In every encounter we either give life or we drain it; there is no neutral exchange.”
There is a poster at Shelby Middle School where The Eastside Vineyard Church meets every Sunday morning. It says, before you speak, THINK. Is what you’re about to say:
Gary and AnneMarie Ezzo from Growing Families International have said this for years in the “Growing Kids God’s Way” curriculum and in the new “Parenting from the Tree of Life” curriculum. You can speak life or speak death to your children. You can say, “Don’t spill your milk!” or you can say, “See how carefully you can bring your milk to the table”. You can say, “Don’t be mean to your sister” or you can say, “What would be a kind way to answer your sister?” You can say, “Don’t run!” and “Stay off the grass” or you can say “Let’s walk” and “Let’s stay on the sidewalk”.
But it’s not just children that this applies to, it’s everyone. Every encounter can be used to inspire.
“Raise your thoughts a little higher,
Use your words to inspire,
Joy will fall like rain,
When you speak life with the things you say.”
-TobyMac “Speak Life”