On my frequent trips to the city, I've been watching the progress of a large building, like a Kmart store, being demolished. Although on the interstate, when I passed this project I would still slow down for an extra glimpse of the wrecking crane as it ripped through the concrete walls and metal roof.
The other day, when I passed, it was gone. The roof and walls had been crushed and loaded onto trucks until the last load of rubble was hauled away.
As I pondered this sight, it reminded me how easy it is to demolish. It doesn't take much skill or wisdom to tear down. One doesn't need to read a blueprint or give attention to details. All it requires is brute power; usually a strong back and a sturdy sledgehammer will do the trick for small jobs.
When it comes to the matter of a Christian's influence upon others, the Bible is quite clear that we are not to be in the business of demolition, but edification, i.e. building up. For instance in Ephesians 4:29 it's written, "Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear."
But one might argue, "Demolition is so easy." And, it is. All it takes are a few power words like "failure," "hopeless," "ugly," "bad" and "worthless." There doesn't have to be any affection or carefully measured words of encouragement. It takes only a few blows of the tongue, even in gossip, to become the sledgehammer blows that shatter hearts.
May we all give care to what we say! To tear down the spirit and worth of another takes no godliness at all. To batter down those already discouraged by troubles is about the easiest task one will ever find. On the other hand, to be a masterful builder of men, to inspire love and dedication to God in those we meet, is to be like Christ Himself.