Plagiarism (from Webster’s Dictionary): the act of using another person’s words or ideas without giving credit to that person. In other words printing or speaking another person’s words as though they are your own. Before we go any further, let me assure you that
“I use Grammarly to check for plagiarism because I want to be sure someone hasn’t already published any of my wisdom!”
Actually, Florence Littauer would be the one checking Grammarly with this post because she wrote and recorded the message of Silver Boxes – the power of rightly using our words.
Florence likens a response of encouragement to presenting the person a silver box (a prized gift). Thank you Florence for giving permission to quote!
Words, she teaches (according to scripture) can be double-edged. For example:
Prov. 16:24 Pleasant words are a honeycomb,
Sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.
Prov. 16:27 A worthless man digs up evil,
While his words are as a scorching fire.
I think we have all experienced both sides of that coin.
Shortly before my mother passed away I witnessed her saying kind words (for the first time to my knowledge) to one of her fully-grown children. I doubt she fully understood the freedom from lifelong bitterness and hurt she released by, finally, saying good words.
I sometimes wonder if all harsh words are a form of plagiarism, tricking us (usually in “righteous indignation”) to quote from the “father of lies” and unintentionally hurt or demean someone God placed in our lives to bless. When we speak those words, we foolishly attach our own name to them. Plagiarism from hell. Ouch.
I know I have regretted speaking word-wounds, and wish I could go back and at least apologize and ask forgiveness. I say at least because I wish I could change or erase those instances from my memory and theirs, but like the story goes, spewing out harsh words are like squeezing toothpaste out of the tube – impossible to restore.
Perhaps because I’ve inflicted pain, and experienced it deeply as well, is why building up others became a life passion. I often ask God to help me recognize broken and fallow hearts where I am called to sow grace and mercy, and no, I don’t believe using words of encouragement, (sharing God’s character), is plagiarism, because they are used by permission! Phil. 2:1-4 If therefore there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.
I take this opportunity to encourage anyone who used harsh words against someone to whom you hold the power to uplift, and has not asked forgiveness to make it your goal to correct that this month. I also encourage sharing words of life to those God has put in your circle, as much as you can. Speak, tweet, talk, write, or text, words of encouragement this month at least once a day.
Far more importantly than commerce and media’s goal to market love in the form of chocolate, diamonds, flowers, or anything else that money can buy, give the gift this month that truly can last forever. Give Silver Boxes –the gift of encouragement.
If you haven’t read the book or heard Florence Littauer share Silver Boxes, The Gift of Encouragement – you will want to. She is one of the most dynamic and humorous speakers I’ve heard in my lifetime. It would also make a wonderful gift. You can find it here: http://www.amazon.com/Silver-Boxes-Florence-Littauer/dp/0785297324
And, yes, I DO use Grammerly! Check it out here and make sure no one has been sharing your wisdom! www.grammarly.com/