How well do you use your words in life as a leader? If you are not sure, just look at the relationships around you. Our words can get us into trouble or they can dissolve trouble. Loving words can be like a warm breath on a lit candle that can easily extinguish a heart simmering with anger. “Please forgive me” can be just as powerful a collection of words as “I Love you with all my heart!” In this article, we will consider the power of our words as it relates to us as Leaders of the WORD.
My father gave me great advice the day I got married. He said to me, “Son, when you and your wife get into an argument, watch your words. Once you say them, you cannot take them back.” Although I have not always practiced this seasoned piece of wisdom, I do understand the incredible importance of it. As a Leader, we have to stop and consider a few ways we can learn to weigh our words in our heart before they are spoken (or shot) out of our mouth?
In a time of drought, even the smallest bit of water can help a thirsty land. It can also help a drying heart. One of the first ways to weigh our words is to consider if they will be received as a cool glass of water or a mason jar of gas. Like the brittle grass during an absence of rain, is a heart that is hurting. The smallest spark can set it on fire. The words you choose will determine either a blessing or a blaze. Remember in meetings and gatherings, fires are good for roasting marshmallows, not each other.
Another way to weigh our words is to consider what your subordinates expect of you. If you are married, has your spouse ever said “I don’t need your solutions; I just need your sympathy”? Many of us are fixers and when it comes to talking with our spouses and those that work for (or with) us, less is often more. If you are not sure- ASK. This not only determines the content of your words, it also impacts the way you listen. You may even say something like, “How can I best assist you?” Try it next time- you might be surprised at the response.
I remember a poem by H.W. Longfellow that that said, “I shot an arrow into the air, it fell to earth, I knew not where; for, so swiftly it flew, the sight could not follow it in its flight.” A third way we weigh our words is to consider its target. Will the words be encouraging or confronting? Is the point of the words to affirm a good choice or to expose a bad one? Regardless of the arrow, the string that sends it flying should be that of love and respect. When we speak the truth in love (EPH. 4:15), we never have to worry about a stray arrow causing unnecessary injury.
Musician Tommy Shaw stated, “Timing is everything.” If that is true in music, it is also important in our words because all of life is relationships. Our next way to weigh our words comes not from the ticking of the clock as it is the cadence of the conversation. When you are about to say something to someone, especially when it is a heated discussion, ask yourself, “At this time, will he/she hear what I am about to say?” If you are unsure about the importance of timing, please consider the Prophet Nathan in 2 Samuel 12:1-13.
As we close, I want to provide one more way to weigh our words and that is at the foot of the cross. Only when our words are first baptized in the waters of worship to God will we be able to bring a proper sacrifice of speech to the Lord’s altar of healing. Words matter. The Apostle John wrote “In the beginning was the word (Logos), and the Word was with God and the word was God…and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us . . .” (John 1:1, 14). When we run our words through the Word, they will always come out with grace and not growl.
CHAPLAIN (MAJ-ret) DANIEL MIDDLEBROOKS
Chaplain (MAJ-ret) Daniel Middlebrooks was born in Plant City, Florida on 19 July, 1966. After receiving his AA degree from Hillsborough Community College, he entered the Active Duty on 27 May, 1988 at FT. Jackson, SC and began his career as a 91J- Physical Therapy Technician for three years at Fox Army Hospital, Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, AL (1988-1991). In November 1988, Daniel surrendered to the call of the ministry and worked toward his BS degree at Athens State College, Athens, Alabama. He left the Active Duty, May 1991 and entered New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and the National Guard Chaplain’s Candidate Program. He was endorsed by the Southern Baptist Convention, commissioned as a 2nd LT in January 1992 and served with the HQ STARC until Jan 1994. He completed his MDIV in the summer of 1994 and was commissioned at a 1st LT, January 1994 and transferred to 769th Combat Engineers, Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He was later transferred to the 2-117 FA in Oneonta, Alabama.
Civilian Ministry Experience:
CH Middlebrooks served at Williams Blvd Baptist church from 1991-1995 as the Minister of Newlyweds, Minister of young Adults, Minister of Family Ministries and Interim Music Minister. He moved to Morgan City, AL and served as the Associate Pastor and New Building Construction Director from OCT 1995-June 1997. He served as the Senior Pastor for Hopewell Baptist Church, Plant City FL from Feb. 2013- March, 2017. He currently serves as the Command Chaplain for the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office and as the Chaplain for Plant City. His also volunteers as the chaplain of Plant City Fire Department and Hillsborough County School Board-Security Division. He is the President/CEO of R3 Care & Consulting, LLC and Chaplaincy Care, Inc.
Active Duty Chaplaincy/Military Experience:
He entered Active Duty again in June 1997 at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. He served in the 626 FSB (97-98) and 1/502 IN BN(99-2000); Deputy 280th BSB CH (2000-02) and 1-26 IN , Schweinfurt, Germany (2002-03); 1st Recruiting Brigade as the OIC of the CH Recruiting team (2004-06);and 10th Combat Support Hospital, Fort Carson, CO (2007-10). He last served as the Chaplain’s Career Course Senior Course manager, instructor and developer/writer.
His military Schooling includes Chaplain Officer Basic Leaders Course (93), Chaplain Career Course (2003), USAREC Chaplain Recruiting Certification, CPE (2006), and ILE (2007), and the U.S. Army Chaplain Center and School Faculty Development Training/Instructor Certification. CH Middlebrooks has deployed to MFO/Egypt (1999-00), Kosovo (2002), and Iraq (2008-09).
Awards: Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star, The Meritorious Service Medal with three Oak Leave Clusters, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal with one Silver and four Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters, Army Achievement Medal with one Silver and two Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters, Good Conduct Medal, Army Reserve Component Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Kosovo Campaign Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal with bronze star, GWOT, Humanitarian Service Medal with one Oak Leaf Cluster, Armed Forces Reserve Medal, NCO Professional Development Ribbon, Army Service Ribbon, Oversee Service Ribbon, NATO Medal, and MFO Medal. He earned his Air Assault Wings in 1997 and his Recruiter badge with three silver stars in 2006. He was awarded the distinguished Witherspoon Award from the OCCH and National Bible Association in 2010. He is married to the former Arienne Plyler of Brandon, Florida. They have two daughters, Erica (23) and Allison (18). Over the last 29 years of marriage, the Middlebrooks family has moved 19 times and understands what means to “Bloom where God plants you”.