It matters.  It really matters.  I was in a place of business this morning where I’ve been going every three to four weeks for over seven years now.  While there, I even debated in my mind about ever returning.  So the jury in my mind is still out.  Will I return or will I find another similar business with a different culture?  I like the quality of the service I get at this business, but I hated the environment I was trapped in for twenty minutes.

Here’s the deal.  I had an appointment at the above referenced business to get a necessary service.  Normally, in and out in less than a half hour.  But, I didn’t go there to hear an employee walk in and immediately start to complain about another employee calling off and cancelling all of her appointments for the day.  I didn’t go there to hear one employee gripe about the manager who doesn’t do her job to this employee’s standard.  I didn’t go there to hear this same employee tell another employee to just let the phone ring because they were too busy already without the missing employee and the absent manager.  I just went to get a needed service.

Culture matters.  The tone of your business or organization matters. defines culture as “the collection of values, expectations, and practices that guide and inform the actions of all team members.”  And we shouldn’t confuse culture with a mission statement or goals.  Culture is created through consistent and authentic behaviors, not slogans on the wall or statements on a website.

Our Staff Code On My Office Wall

Speak life.  It matters.  While it is one of our ten codes for our team at the organization I founded, it’s not just a wall plague. From what I hear and observe, we actually live it.  It is a part of our culture.  We are encouragers, truth speakers, grace givers and gossip intolerant in a “help me to understand” community.  We work hard at giving the benefit of the doubt. We speak life. 

Words matter.  Words are not simply the sounds caused by our mouths shaping air passing through our larynx.  Words are not just letters on a piece of paper or shapes on a screen.  I believe words matter, in private and in public.  I am convinced that words have energy and power with the ability to help, to heal, to hinder, to hurt, to harm, to humiliate and to humble. Of all the creatures on this planet, only humans have the ability to communicate through spoken or written words.  Then to use words, is a unique and powerful gift from God.

The Writer of Proverbs tells us that words have the power to destroy and the power to build up (Proverbs 12:6). “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat it’s fruit” (Proverbs 18:21). In other words, our words do so much more than just convey information.  They can burden one’s spirit, stir up hatred and violence, exacerbate or inflict wounds.  Or they can build up, soothe, heal, comfort and bring life.  

How are you using your words today?  At work?  On social media?  To your family? Are you using words to build up people or destroy them?  Are they filled with hate or love, bitterness or blessing, complaining or compliments, lust or love, victory or defeat?  Jesus reminds us that the words we speak are actually the overflow of our hearts (Matthew 12:33-37).  That’s sobering.  Especially when Jesus says I’ll be judged by the words that come out of my mouth. Ouch! And, because I’m an imperfect person and believe in giving the “benefit of the doubt,” I actually decided while writing this blog that I will go back to the business in the future.

Speak life.  It matters.

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