Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Old Woman Wednesday... Say What? How? Why?

"I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak..." Matthew 12:36

*Note: I recently shared this post with the moms I mentor and decided to include it here for those who aren't in our mom's group. 

The availability of articles and blog posts spouting opinions of every "expert" on every conceivable topic has never been greater.

What troubles me almost as much as the Biblically unsound nature of so much of what I see and read these days is the lack of decorum and civility and/or the excessive use of sarcasm among those who DO claim to be Christ followers.

The art of simple, courteous communication or debate is gradually disappearing.

Three things come to my mind as cautions and reminders that I hope you may find helpful even if you find me old fashioned and out of touch.

1. Sometimes clever speech or witty writing conceals an underlying lack of wise counsel. Pray for a mind that is able to detect the subtle distortions of Biblical truth before sharing or liking something just because its over all premise, headline (or shock value) is appealing to the flesh. Discernment is a gift available to anyone who asks God for it and seeks it like the treasure it is. ("Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world." 1 John 4:1; and... "If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him." James 1:5)

2. We are God's witnesses to this world of the redeeming, transforming work of Jesus Christ. He is serious about this and about his reputation. Forbid it Lord that we would be quick to forget this--or worse, not care. When we read an opinion piece that we know is Biblically wrong or is conveyed in a manner that is inconsistent for a professing Christ follower, we should feel free to respond if prompted, but always in the posture of a king's daughter-- never mirroring the poor soul who has "never tasted and seen that The Lord is good." God's reminder to us is that "Wise people treasure knowledge, but the babbling of a fool invites disaster." (Proverbs 10:14) and we are to "...revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. (1 Peter 3: 15-16)

3. Remember the children. They know what we like, laugh at, and talk about, and it is of great importance and interest to them! They hear when we resort to snark, gossip, sarcasm and criticism-- and they will always accept sincerely given apologies when we fail in any of these ways and acknowledge that our words were wrong. When we speak, read or write, do it not only with our LORD and those within our sphere of influence who are unbelievers in mind, keep the little ones in mind so that one day they will rise up and call us blessed. (Proverbs 31:28)

We have been given some crystal clear communication warnings and guidelines in scripture. These are a few especially compelling verses to consider as we weigh the strengths and weaknesses of the information that crosses our paths and how we respond, speak or write about the observations we make in any given day:
She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. Proverbs 31:26

Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.Ephesians 4: 29

...What you say flows from what is in your heart. Luke 6:45

If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless. James 1: 26

Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Philippians 4:8

A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare. The tongue of the wise makes knowledge appealing, but the mouth of a fool belches out foolishness. Proverbs 15: 1-2

But avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness...2 Timothy 2: 16

(in reference to our tongue) With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. James 3: 9-10

I love the written and spoken word. Sadly, I've abused or misused both at different times in my past. I've confessed these sins and have been shown mercy that only a gracious and loving Father would grant. I hope my own admission and experience, along with these sobering verses, will spare many of you the need for confession of your own communication carelessness on the day you meet Jesus face to face.

No comments:

Post a Comment