“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”
Ephesians 4:29 (ESV)
It was a typical grey day in England in January—winter was here and the anticipation of the cold damp season was etched on people’s faces as they walked the busy street. Suddenly someone sneezed (another symptom of the season) and I found myself instantly exclaiming, “Bless you!” I was abashed at my boldness—my response had been unplanned. I looked around, several people were smiling and the person who had sneezed said, “thank you!” For two or three seconds my blessing had warmed a few people’s hearts. I thanked God there and then for the opportunity, albeit an unexpected one.
Maybe I wasn’t such an idiot after all—according to Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, this custom is “the act or words of one that blesses,” or “a thing conducive to happiness or welfare.” Another Hebrew word for blessing is esher, which is also translated as happiness. Inadvertently on that dismal day I had wished happiness on a stranger.
Extending love to our fellow man doesn’t always have to be a grand charitable gesture. More often than not it is a smile or helping hand to strangers. Jesus’ new commandment broke through barriers of class and race when he said, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34-35 NIV).
We need to be ready to bless by showing love where and when we can. God will help us if we ask Him (Matthew 7:7). Who knows, perhaps one day someone in the street will bless us too!
Thank you, Father, for your immeasurable love for us and by the power of the Holy Spirit help us to extend it to others in small and great ways.
About the Author:
Irene Wilson is a Deaconess in the Watford Congregation of the Worldwide Church of God UK, where she also serves on the Pastoral Council.
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