Telling a story can be an awesome experience both for the one telling it and the one receiving it if it is done correctly. I had no idea at the time how my stories would and can affect an impressionable mind. I was working for a roofing company that my ex-father in law owned, both he and I were also in substance abuse recovery at the time. A couple from the recovery meetings we attended asked if their 15-year-old son Tyler could come and work with us for the summer and my boss agreed. The first day Tyler showed up he was assigned to me for directions on what to do and he was a quick learner. He had started asking me all kinds of questions about my addictions and my physical appearance. I was a bodybuilder and had the look of someone you wouldn’t mess with and I knew it too. I started telling Tyler day after day of all the great times that I had, getting into fights, all the liquor that was consumed and women that I was with. He was hanging on every word that popped out of my mouth and it was all garbage. I was early in recovery and didn’t know how stories were meant to be told, like romancing all the good times that were had. Instead, we are supposed to be talking about the negative experiences and how the addiction had destroyed our lives. Here I am fluffing up this kid, making everything sound cool and inviting. He worked with us for about a month and a half and one morning I had gone to pick him up as usual except this time his mother met me at the door telling me that he had disappeared. Tyler hadn’t come home the whole weekend without so much as a note or phone call telling his mother where he was. He did show up the following day and said he had gone to the beach with a group of older friends and that everything was ok. He no longer worked with us but his mother had nothing but worrying stories to tell us in the next couple of months. His grades went south since he was skipping school and was known by his parents for using heroin. A couple of years later he had an overdose and died. I don’t know if he had thoughts of using drugs before he met me, or maybe the fact that both his parents were addicts and it was in their genetics. What I did know was that if I had been walking with God at the time, those evil words would have never crossed my lips. The words that come out of our mouths can be uplifting and full of encouragement, or they can destroy and damage a future believer.
”Wise speech is rarer and more valuable than gold and rubies.” Proverbs 20:15
”A person’s words can be life-giving; words of true wisdom are as refreshing as a bubbling brook.” Proverbs 18:4