I don’t remember where I read it, but I recently read someone relaying a story about a man born in 1870. Of course he wasn’t born as a man, but as a baby. ; ) He grew up in an orphanage and was eventually raised by people in a Baptist Church in Tennessee. He didn’t know his father and in that day, that was a big deal. He would be made fun of and ostracized by other kids. He was in church one day and as he was leaving even the preacher was piling on when he said, “Whose boy are you?” Young Ben Hooper didn’t know what to say. He didn’t know whose boy he was. He never knew his dad, and nobody else did either. Finally, probably sensing an uneasiness, the preacher said, “Wait a minute, I see it now. I see the resemblance. I know whose boy you are. You are a child of God. Go out there and claim your inheritance.” This is an even bigger deal when you understand that at that time kids who didn’t know their father or even if they did, but their parents weren’t married were considered “illegitimate” and not entitled to any inheritance!
Ben Hooper would go on to be Governor of Tennessee. During his term as Governor he enacted early child labor laws and made going to school mandatory if you lived within walking distance. He wrote his autobiography, The Unwanted Boy. He said the kind words from the preacher on that day made the difference in his life.
Proverbs 12:25 says: Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up. Proverbs 16:24 says: Kind words are like honey–sweet to the soul and healthy for the body. Many of us feel like we can’t make a difference. Each and every day we do make a difference in someone’s life by the words we say. The difference can be good or bad. Proverbs 15:1 says: A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Today will will use kind words, harsh words, or just ignore people. Only the kind words make a positive difference. I have kind words for you: by reading this, you encourage me to keep blogging. I can see statistics that tell me how many people are coming to my blog. I pray you would be blessed by it. I would ask that you have a kind word for someone today. Could you tell at least ONE PERSON who is having a bad day today the kindest words they will ever hear: “Jesus loves you” or “God bless you”. If you can’t bring yourself to say that yet, start by sharing a smile and a kind word to someone who is having a rough time or a bad day.
(And the difference will go on and on. It did with Ben Hooper. And kind words led me to even post on this topic today when my friend Ralph and my sister-in-law Lori both wrote kind words about my blog yesterday!)