Mike Barlett knows that our words have power.
“One simple word can change the course of a person’s life,” Barlett told the Kuyper community on April 18, at the last service of the year in the Vos Chapel.
The Apostle Paul provides a template for how Christians should use their speech in Romans 12, said Barlett, elder and lead pastor at Redemption City Church in Grand Rapids.
“We are to outdo one another in showing honor, to honor one another above ourselves,” Barlett said.
This means we are to see the gifts and talents in our fellow image-bearers and use our words of encouragement to bring them forth.
“It’s about seeing people in all of their God-given potential,” said Barlett.
But outdoing one another in showing honor is not about empty flattery, Barlett emphasized.
“This is genuinely seeing people, knowing them, and calling out the gifts that you see in their lives,” he added.
According to Barlett, this is vital to the work of education and ministry. When we use our words to build up those around us, we can help empower them to be the people God calls them to be, he said.
“If there is one skill, we all need in life, if there is one thing, we all struggle with to some extent, and one thing everyone can benefit from, it’s this command to outdo one another in showing honor,” Barlett said.