The other night, my husband turned to me and said the sweetest thing:
“You add value to my life.”
It really got me thinking. I’m always trying to be intentional about what I add to my life, but am I intentional about what I add to the lives of those around me?
I’d like to think that that I always try to be considerate and intentional with my interactions, but sometimes it’s easy to let our words or behaviour slip through the cracks. Today, I want to explore a few broad guidelines to keep in mind when interacting with others intentionally that will help you add value to their lives.
Consider Your Words
This may be obvious, but being careful of the words we choose is important. Do we inspire and encourage, or do we mock and tear down? Are our words too few or too many? Are we too quick to speak or accuse?
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. (Ephesians 4:29, ESV)
It is better to live in a desert land than with a quarrelsome and fretful woman. (Proverbs 21:19, ESV)
Whoever mocks the poor insults his Maker; he who is glad at calamity will not go unpunished.(Proverbs 17:5, ESV)
Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.
(1 Thessalonians 5:11, ESV)
Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; (James 1:19, ESV)
Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent.(Proverbs 17:28, ESV)
Consider Your Actions
Think about your actions and interactions. What we DO is louder than what we SAY. How do we treat others and how might they perceive our actions? How do we act even when we don't think others are watching (by the way, someone is always watching). Do our actions stem from our hearts - or do we just "act good" without having our heart in it?
Now, therefore, thus says the Lord of hosts: Consider your ways. (Haggai 1:5, ESV)
For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing. (James 1:23-25, ESV)
What do we do for others that can add value to their lives? It could be as simple as a smile, a hug, a cup of tea. Maybe some time together sharing that cup of tea. Do we meet greater needs too? Do we have an ear that listens, an eye that pays attention to basic needs that need to be met...simple consideration for others? We may tell someone that Jesus loves them, but do we show them Jesus' love?
What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. (James 2:14-17, ESV)
What you put into your life, you’ll get [and give] out. I think I'll just let Paul finish off this one:
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. (Philippians 4:8, ESV)
How do others add value to your life? How do you try adding value to others?