Feeding the starving families

Posted By | November 21, 2019 12:00 pm

By Topher Wiles

My boys were starving and needed nourishment from me.  As I overheard their argument pushing their tones to get higher pitched, their volumes louder, and their reasoning to falter, I knew they needed life-giving nourishment that a father can provide.

Our world is starving for something of which you and I have a potentially unlimited supply. You can get it by simply deciding to have it. You can give it away freely to thousands of people and still have plenty to give yourself. In fact, the more you give away, the more you will be surrounded with it. This elusive, yet potentially unlimited, substance is simply “a positive encouraging word.”

So, why is encouragement in such short supply? We live in a society where people gravitate toward the bad news: the shocking, the fear-inspiring, and the awful. Too many of us are constantly on the lookout for something negative or shocking to talk about or promote. The news media is too often a prime example of the focus on the negative (although I’m excited that The Expositor is one outlet seeking something different!).  This influx of negativity leaves us like the child who eats only bacon and Twinkies.   Their appetite is satiated for a while, but their body is malnourished.

Even though there exist unsung heroes doing their best to share goodness in the world, statistically, it rarely is reported in the news and our social media.  Families, as a result of our cultural consumption, are drowning in the flood of negativity, and, unless we as individuals and a community take immediate action, we, too, will drown in this world’s negative onslaught.   Yet, there is hope, and we can provide the positive nourishment needed.  Our families, our friends, and our neighbors are starving for positive encouraging words that you and I can give.

The argument was strengthening between my sons as I rounded the corner into the room wearing my “serious” face. A stern look was all it took to gain the attention of my boys and stop all bickering.  They expected me to lower the boom and bring a fiery wrath that any dad is capable of.  What came next from my mouth shocked them in a new way and completely changed the direction of our day.

“You are loved” were the first words I spoke after a long moment of silence.  Then, I followed with encouragement, sharing with them the care I believe they were capable of, the level of respect I thought they deserved from each other, and how much their brothers, their mother, and I really loved them.  We wrapped up our correction by having the boys share heartfelt compliments to each other and stories of when we felt loved by each other.  The boys needed no negative consequences this time to remind them of the lesson; they only needed encouragement. The hugs and smiles that followed the escalating argument reminded me how nourishing encouraging words can be.

As you gather around the table this holiday season greeting loved ones with bellies full of turkey, stuffing, and potatoes, remember that they may still be starving for something more than food.  Too often, tables are filled with sweet food, but the air is soured by harsh sentiment and negative news.  Your family needs you to be a source of the positive, encouraging, and loving nourishment.  You have the power to feed starving families.

Recently I was writing about the nourishment of positive words, when words of poetry began to flow.  The following is an original Shakespearean-styled sonnet that you may need to hear or share, titled “You are Loved.”

Ever and anon, be sure; you are loved.

For as the Son rises, one realizes.

This awesome truth remains; It is not shoved,

But gently trickles into the wisest.

You are loved, by the great Father above,

Through whom is every good and perfect gift,

By Spirit who showed in  likeness of a dove,

Whose blessed peace and comfort kindles so swift.

You are loved, by the  Sacrificial Son,

Who dared care not if you were rich nor poor,

By His blood your full salvation is won.

This loving effort stands forevermore.

So share your love, due to the gift granted,

And watch love grow by the seed you planted.

“Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God.  But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called “Today,” so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.” – Hebrews 3:12-13    

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