A few weeks ago, I wrote a post talking about the violent ways we often use our words. We use them to tear down, hurt and destroy.
But what’s the alternative? Clearly, the opposite of hurting and destroying is healing and building up, but what does that actually look like?
This last week, I stumbled upon what is an incredibly simple, yet also potentially revolutionary concept. While working with a co-worker, she expressed some of her heart and desires. I responded with the simple phrase, “you remind me of Jesus right now.” Her response: a strange look and the question, “are we even allowed to say things like that?”
Certainly, we are. The call on the Christian’s life is to be conformed to Christ as we are confronted by him. Yet, to say explicitly that we see him in another’s life quickly makes them (and often us) uncomfortable. Don’t believe me? Try it and see how they respond. My guess is the compliment will be giggled away or an uncomfortable silence will set in.
But it is a compliment, perhaps the greatest one that could be given or received. To tell someone they look, act, or talk like Jesus is a powerful reminder that sanctification is a reality, not just a hypothetical journey. Of course, the praise is not truly merited by us. Such a compliment should drive us to thankfulness to the Spirit and worship of the Father, as we see ourselves conformed to the image of the Son.
We spend so much time tearing one another down, what if we simply spent time looking for ways that others reminded us of Jesus, and sharing those moments with them? Not only would it remind us of who we should want to be like but it also invites us into exploring Christ-likeness as a real possibility, not just an abstract and perhaps unfair demand that God has placed on us.
It’s a simple idea. Words have power, and the act of declaring “you remind me of Jesus” has the potential to turn us upside down. If Christ-likeness is what we are supposed to strive for, perhaps its time we point it out in others rather than just seeking to discourage sin.
Let’s open our eyes and see Jesus in our friends. And then, let’s tell them about it.