(The Story of Jesus)
Words flood out of our mouths easier than toothpaste comes out of a half used tube and even harder to put them back into our brains…like putting toothpaste back into the tube. Impossible.
That’s why all of us need to pause and really think before we speak. We have all heard, or least read, (because I have written it many times or used in a sermon), the THINK method. It is what to think about in the “pause before you speak” time. T-Is what I’m about to say the Truth, H-Is what am about to say going to be helpful to this person, I-Is what I’m about to say going to inspire this person in front of me?, N-Is what I’m about to say even necessary to say? Will it build them up or tear them down?, and K-Is what I’m about to say going to be kind, full of love and grace for this person.
It also matters where your heart is when you say it. Are the words coming forth in a Spirit of love? Paul wrote about this in his letters. It also matters about the body posture you have when you say it. Many times our words are misinterpreted, just by the tone of voice and our posture. There is a whole study on this very thing. If you are standing with arms are crossed, you look as if you are not going to listen to what they have to say, for example, and will look very authoritative in your approach. On the other hand, if you sit down, eye to eye, on the same level, with love in your heart, your body posture will reveal what your words want to convey in a more acceptable, gracious way.
The way we respond to others is most times not what we really mean to say. When someone gives you a compliment, such as “that outfit looks so good on you”, and you respond with, “this old thing? I got it cheap”, you have told that person that their opinion is worthless to you. A simple “why, thank you!” would have encouraged the one who gave you the compliment.
I think about all this and more as Jesus begins his teachings on the mountain to all of us. He begins to explain God’s Law in full detail with examples we cannot turn away from and think they are not for us. For example:
“You’re familiar with the command to the ancients, ‘Do not murder.’ I’m telling you that anyone who is so much as angry with a brother or sister is guilty of murder. Carelessly call a brother ‘idiot!’ and you just might find yourself hauled into court. Thoughtlessly yell ‘stupid!’ at a sister and you are on the brink of hellfire. The simple moral fact is that words kill.” Matthew 5, Msg
Lord, make us more gracious!
GO DEEPER…WITH WORDS AND GRACIOUS ACTIONS
“This is how I want you to conduct yourself in these matters. If you enter your place of worship and, about to make an offering, you suddenly remember a grudge a friend has against you, abandon your offering, leave immediately, go to this friend and make things right. Then and only then, come back and work things out with God.” Matthew 5, Msg
AND THAT’S NOT ALL…
“Or say you’re out on the street and an old enemy accosts you. Don’t lose a minute. Make the first move; make things right with him. After all, if you leave the first move to him, knowing his track record, you’re likely to end up in court, maybe even jail. If that happens, you won’t get out without a stiff fine.” Matthew 5, Msg
Dear Heavenly Father, There is so much to learn! We must grow in grace and graciousness. We must repent as we think deeper about our words, our posture, our Spirit and our graciousness to others. Fill us with Your Holy Spirit as we grow in grace, working out our own salvation, as we love you back and love others as you love us. Help us, Lord to think before we speak. In Jesus Name, Amen