by David Brenneman
The following was a recurring story passed along on Facebook:
"My daughter starts middle school tomorrow. We've decorated her locker, bought new uniforms, even surprised her with a new backpack. But tonight just before bed, we did another pre-middle school task that is far more important than the others. I gave her a tube of toothpaste and asked her to squirt it out onto a plate. When she finished, I calmly asked her to put all the toothpaste back in the tube. She began exclaiming things like "But I can't!" and "It won't be like it was before!" I quietly waited for her to finish and then said the following:
"You will remember this plate of toothpaste for the rest of your life. Your words have the power of life or death. As you go into middle school, you are about to see just how much weight your words carry. You are going to have the opportunity to use your words to hurt, demean, slander and wound others. You are also going to have the opportunity to use your words to heal, encourage, inspire and love others. You will occasionally make the wrong choice; I can think of three times this week I have used my own words carelessly and caused harm. Just like this toothpaste, once the words leave your mouth, you can't take them back. Use your words carefully, Breonna. When others are misusing their words, guard your words. Make the choice every morning that life-giving words will come out of your mouth. Decide tonight that you are going to be a life-giver in middle school. Be known for your gentleness and compassion. Use your life to give life to a world that so desperately needs it. You will never, ever regret choosing kindness."
"Your speech must always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person." Colossians 4:6 NASB
This directly plays into the reasoning behind this passage as well: "Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity." Ephesians 4:26-27 NASB.
I have been really impressed by people who I have run across who really do earnestly make themselves consider their words before speaking. I would be even more impressed if my own mouth would do so half as much as what it does. It really not a natural inclination of the mouth to stop before the brain is fully engaged.
We are further instructed to use our words wisely. Ephesians 4:29 NASB "Let no unwholesome word come out of your mouth, but if there is any good word for edification according to the need of the moment, say that, so that it will give grace to those who hear.".
It's an extremely saddening thing to hear people talk and know that no real thought was behind the rant that just came out of them.
Fatigue is a leading cause of ill spoken words. We are tired so less thought is given towards what should or shouldn't be said.
We are indeed inherently selfish due to our sin nature. To consider one another as more important than ourselves isn't a natural inclination. We really don't want to do it. Yet, "Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility consider one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others." Philippians 2:3-4 NASB, says how our thinking ought to be.
It's interesting to watch others. Much of my life as an introvert is spent observing others before deciding on interactions. I sort of describe myself as a selective introvert. It really depends on the environment, the audience and the topic as to how all in I can be socially. There's times when I would much rather be cleaning litterboxes than be in some social situations. It's a very true statement that it's been an act of God that I haven't run away from many socially to me awkward moments.
Seasoned Words are a necessity. Jesus always chose His words before speaking. If you look at some of Paul's various court appearances he careful noted his accusers and chose exactly what to say to get a desired result.
We are also taught to speak the truth in love. Ephesians 4:15 NASB "but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, that is, Christ,".
There's a lot to consider in choosing words. There's much that can be said in regards to even advice, but, we need to take care because words, like that opening story of the toothpaste tube, you cannot take them back.
Proverbs tells us: ""Where there is no guidance the people fall, But in an abundance of counselors there is victory." 11:14 NASB.
"Without consultation, plans are frustrated, But with many counselors they succeed." 15:22 NASB
Job was a man well thought of by those he lived with and near.
We are also told in Proverbs 3:7 to not be wise in our own eyes.
Seasoning is used to adjust the taste or texture of food to make it more palatable. To increase its enjoyment to both the preparer and the recipient. The preparer wishes to see enjoyment in the recipient.
I confess that in many of my darkest years I really wasn't considering my words well. I still pray for those who's lives that I may have and probably did alter in negative ways. Not drawing them towards a relationship with Jesus but rather farther away from Him. This isn't an easy lesson to learn in life. I am very thankful when I honestly hear my mind telling me that silence in a moment is far better than anything I could put into words. What I would say wouldn't help. Prayer in those moments brought what was needed because only the wisdom of God can see into the hearts of others, where we cannot go.
Remember the toothpaste tube.
Situations come up and we take them personally. This leads to ill spoken words.
Situations come up and we are tempted to think only about ourselves rather than the person before us.
Situations come up when it's honestly the Devil wanting to discredit you in front of others.
Situations come up because whether or not you agree, we are in a Spiritual War. Souls are in the balance. The wheat in God's harvest is people not things. Things are replaceable. People are not. Jesus didn't die for things. He died and yes arose again because of His love for people.
Think about how you interact with people.
Think about your level of selfishness.
Think about how you speak to others.
Think about these passages we read today. Is God telling you anything?
My prayer most often for me is to be better today than I was yesterday. To ask forgiveness for the sins that I have committed that I know of and those that I am not aware of. That my mind be as guarded as my heart by Jesus.
Was reminded yesterday about Philippians 4:6-7 NASB "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and pleading with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus."
Anxiousness causes me not to think before I speak. Stress as well. For whatever reason ever since moving to our new hometown I have struggled with anxiety more than I had before moving. I don't know if it's the absence of background things that I was used to dealing with or the introduction to new or if it were something else.
We can also spread God's blessings to others in how we treat each other. We can withhold blessings or distribute them.
Choose how to speak. Consider others. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and spirit. Love your neighbor as yourself.
Post a Comment