Creating an atmosphere of change- Our language can change our home, church, work place and loved ones that are using.
Proverbs 13:12 Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life.
Part of what we learn in FAITH is communicating with other’s using a positive language. Research shows that the language we use to describe our loved ones that are using can either perpetuate addiction or help them overcome. Stigma marks a person. Whether it is stigma we place on someone by using negative language & thoughts (thoughts produce behavior) or self-inflected, thoughts one has of them. Both types of stigma perpetuate someone deeper into addiction. We can’t FIX addiction, however we can change ourselves.
EXAMPLE: SELF STIGMA: Leadership: when you aren’t seeing growth…nothing is changing; you toss and turn at night questioning yourself, your help, and your methods??? You lose sleep, your thought process is thrown off track, you lose energy and enthusiasm….However as soon as a word of encouragement comes, a new pupil walks in the door, a positive response from a person regarding your leadership, HOPE ignites in your heart and with that comes new energy, a strive to learn more, you push harder to be better…There is something about being encouraged. It brings new life, it brings desire for change. No one may have caused the discouragement but your thought process, however each of the individuals who spoke or acted positively changed your perspective. Speaking and acting positive can plant seeds of hope even in places we are unaware of needing that hope.
Public Stigma: They are a junkie, crack-head, addict, alcoholic, drug-baby….rather than a PERSON, a brother, a mother, Sister, a child…..Using “Person” centered language can change a negative perception and result in a change of behavior. A sense of belonging sparks hope and affirms who they really are outside of their behavior. God knows all of our short-comings, however he calls us child, friend, royal, chosen….ect…
We are all called to be encourages, no matter what we do in life. We are called to speak hope into others, enable others to be all that they can be. There is no greater reward than seeing the fruit of your labor sprout in another’s life. I firmly believe it is one of the greatest gifts, outside of our salvation, that we can obtain here on earth.
Labels make the heart sick. They trap people in their current circumstance. You could label yourself as an unproductive leader, supervisor, nurse ect.., and you know the gut wrenching feeling that causes. What if we label others constantly? Drug addict, junkie, loser, addicted baby, depressed, lazy, foster child….all of these labels may be true for today, however your current circumstance does not define you and we shouldn’t put the definition of others in our own hands. You may say, “I just call it as I see it.” However, The Word says Proverbs 18:21 says, “death and life are in the power of the tongue.” It is our job to encourage not killing or pushing away.
Rev. J.T Pugh: PIG Rev. JT Pugh tells a story about a family who had a child in their latter years. The father was not happy about having a child at this stage in life. He had a plan for retirement and this only threw a wrench in the plan. After the child was born the father called her PIG. She grew up acting just like that, PIG. She was sloppy and slothful in her cleaning, dressing and eating. However after the father passed away the girl began to change her behaviors. The label was lifted and slowly she began to change.
Friends of ours were talking about a child that was in their family through the fostering program. The child had some behavior disorder, which is typical of children in the foster care program. However, they were telling my husband and me of how much better her behavior had been since the day she was actually adopted. I couldn’t help to think about the stigma of “foster” had been somewhat lifted and now she felt a sense of belonging.
Both of these stories show how labels can bind us up with self-stigma or public-stigma. We often see in scripture how God changes names at a time of change in that person’s life. Benjamin’s mother, Rachel named him Ben-oni in sorrow, meaning Son of Sadness; however the father, Jacob changed his name to Benjamin (the son of the right hand).” Jacob did not want the label “sorrow” attached to his son for the rest of his life. The current circumstance/sorrow was not going to define the rest of his son’s life. Let’s get that attitude about our loved ones.
We can either bind a person with labels or choose to give them hope. Speak hope, change the atmosphere, and help bring change into the atmosphere by speaking hope into people’s lives.