I Corinthians 13:11 says, “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.”

This passage can be a familiar scripture we use to instruct people to “grow up and act like a Christian.” Or as a way to tell someone we “love” that their lives aren’t lining up with what we believe the Bible says or where we believe they should be spiritually…

With three kids around the house, there are fights or outbursts that happen all the time. My kids love each other deeply, but they still have arguments and disagreements. One ends up getting offended at another, and sooner or later I hear, “DADDY, (someone) just did (something) to me!” Ultimately, most of the arguments either stem from, or were escalated by, one of them saying something they shouldn’t. And each time, the first was only trying to help correct the other.

The Bible mentions in Proverbs 18:21, “The tongue has the power of life and death…”.  In fact, throughout the Bible we are warned about our speech. We’re warned to be careful with our words as we have the ability to pick someone up or tear them down.

What if “when I was a child, I talked like a child, thought like a child, & reasoned like a child” wasn’t referring to how you see someone else acting, but instead how you reacted toward them? You see, a lot of times, just like my kids, in an attempt to “help” someone out, we correct and chastise. When all the while, all we’re doing (though unintentional) is starting a fight. And the next thing we see, is both parties running to God saying, “DADDY, (someone) just did (something) to me!”

You have the ability to encourage, edify, pick-up and love someone with what you say. Since we are His body, and when one part hurts we all hurt, why not strengthen each other? Not with our agenda or beliefs, but with words that lift up. If you finish I Corinthians 13:11-13, you’ll see that as we grow up, we put away childish things. And as our lives reflect non-childish things, “these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” Let’s grow up and reflect love!

I pray today that you would see the opportunity you have to bring life through words of love into someone around you!

Cory Jones is the pastor of Christian Fellowship Church in Paris, TX. He is a gifted communicator, who includes life stories and humor to teach the Scriptures in a relevant, relational and real way. He and his wife Melissa, have 3 great kids that love NE Tx life. Cory enjoys hunting, fishing, golfing and mountain biking… and coffee!

To receive positive outlooks from Cory, follow him on twitter @cory_g_jones