The Weight of Our Words
Five families will be forever broken.
One lost a son.
One family lost a father and their little sister.
One family lost a mother.
Another lost a mother and a daughter.
And the fifth family was lost entirely.
From a human perspective, it's a tragedy. It's grief and agony and loneliness and torture. Husbands will never again hold their wives and must learn to parent alone. A wife must discover how to move on without her soulmate and the precious girl she mothered for 13 years. Siblings will grieve the emptiness they never could have imagined.
Death is weighty. Death can crush a person who has no hope in God. For this reason, the TLP Family mourns with the families who lost their loved ones in the Calabasas helicopter crash, and we pray that the loved ones who are left behind may discover the care-accepting comfort of Christ (I Peter 5:7).
But there is a weight greater than death. There is a burden that may haunt the fullness of a heart.
This suffocating load is the weight of selfish words.
Words that attack, words that expose that we love ourselves more than we love others, these words -- especially when they are the last words spoken -- have the potential of heaping regret too heavy for any human to carry.
"What if I had shared?"
"What if I had only encouraged my sister?"
"If only I told my wife I loved her!"
"What were we even arguing about? It all seems so pointless now."
The argument will be forgotten in the devastation of the loss, but the regret will be redoubled in the finality of the words.
As biblical parents, we must never be ruled by fear of the maybes.
We mustn't speak Truth in love simply because we couldn't live with ourselves if our final words were anything less than "I love you." That motivation is equally self-centered. We should never be afraid that every moment may be the last we share with our families.
As biblical parents, we must speak God's words for His purposes.
We have to trust, and we have to love, and we have to worship God by caring for His people.
And there, intrinsic in the mission, we find the motivation for our words. We do not speak kindly lest we reap the regret of our selfishness. We speak the words of Christ because we love Him and desire to be conformed to His image. We do not sprinkle our words with sugar out of fear that we may spend the rest of our lives eating them. We let our "speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt," so that we will know how we should respond to each person (Colossians 4:6) because we "have been raised with Christ" and are "seeking the things above where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God" (Colossians 3:1).
When we simply follow our Lord's expectations for our communication, we will never have to carry the weight of unkind words, selfish arguments, and worthless nagging. We will never have to fear that our final words -- words we never plan to say -- may haunt our minds. We will never have to ask "What if?" We will know with all certainty that we spoke "the truth in love," so that our family members could "grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ" (Ephesians 4:15).
And that privilege is sweet to bear.
Aaron is the Executive Director of Truth.Love.Parent. and host of its podcast.
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