When I was a teenager, I had a poster that hung on my bedroom wall that said something like:
“Christians are like teabags. You find out what they’re like when you put them in hot water.” (Unknown author)
I thought it meant that the sinfulness in us comes out when we are plunged into “hot water” (such as aggravations and insults from others), and I didn’t think about it much further than that until recently.
But if it means what I had thought it did, why does it say “Christians”? If it was talking about our base human nature, then all people would be like teabags, not just Christians, for we all have attitudes that are not pleasing to God and that we find difficult to hide when push comes to shove.
I like tea. Well, I like certain teas, but others, not so much. And most of the teas I like are so much better with a little sweetener of some kind. But tea is actually good for you in that it has different tannins and nutrients that we don’t get in many other foods that we eat. The fact that it doesn’t necessarily taste wonderful without sweetener does not mean that it is not good for us.
So, it is possible for Christians who are walking with the Lord as they should be to turn the hot water around them into a healthful drink by their godly words, actions, and reactions. And we can also make it more palatable by using the sweeteners of love, kindness, and showing honor.
“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:16 NKJV
“The wise of heart is called discerning, and sweetness of speech increases persuasiveness.” Proverbs 16:21 BSB
“A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit.” Proverbs 15:4 ESV
Is it possible for Christians and non-Christians to turn the hot water around them into something unhealthy? Yes, of course! Nowadays there is a glut of prideful, hateful words that bring ill health to the soul.
We cannot control what other people do or say, but we ourselves
can choose to be
light in the darkness,
a source of health in the spiritual sickness around us,
a planter of seeds of love and of kindness.
When Jesus commanded obedience, it was for our good and for the good of those in our sphere of influence.
Can you imagine how we could turn this present darkness into light simply by speaking and writing more words that are:
God wants us to be a part of the solution, not of the problem, and He will help His children by His Holy Spirit that indwells them.
Today I’m thankful that God’s Spirit in the hearts of His children makes possible the infusion of spiritual health and nourishment into the lives of those around us.
I’m thankful for the “hot water” of trials that He allows in our lives, even though they are not pleasant experiences at the time.
I’m thankful that He is willing and able to overflow His precious love from our hearts to those around us.
I’m thankful for sweet, life-giving words.
I’m thankful to be privileged to receive His light and to share it with others.
What about you? Where are you on your journey of learning to speak light, life, and health into others? Do you enjoy hearing those sweet words from others? Do you try to practice saying sweet words to others? Don’t give up if you’ve failed. Get up, ask God for help, and try again.