Words With Friends, with Family, and Others (What You Say Really Matters)

Talking is a necessary part of our everyday life.  From saying “Good morning!” to ordering coffee, to telling our mechanic exactly what noise our car is making, we talk. It is a joy to listen to babies learn how to talk, to use their mouths to communicate meaning, to express emotion, and to share their needs with the world.

As I have been thinking about talking, I have been reflecting how we use our words. After all, we “talk” through a variety of mediums. We use our voices, we use email. We communicate through social media and we use sign language and nonverbal forms of communication to share our words, our thoughts and our feelings. We are naturally communicative beings.

Of late, I have become acutely aware of how powerfully words are utalkingsed, and how harmful we allow our speech to become. I see people express anger, hatred, racism, and violent intent quickly, easily, and seemingly without repercussion. I watch people express their opinions quickly and easily. They justify hurtful words, thoughts, and ideas easily because, “They are right!” We cover destructive speech under the cloak of being correct and fail to consider the powerful impact of the words we use on friends, on family, on loved ones, on coworkers, on acquaintances, and on strangers.

We take little stock of the damage our words, our speech, our social media footprint causes to those around us. After all, “I am right! I speak the truth! If they don’t like it, that’s tough!” I see the carnage all the time when believers use words as a weapon.

Scripture speaks repeatedly about the power of our speech and how we are to speak the words we use. In Ephesians 4.29, Paul, when speaking to the Ephesian Christians regarding speaking the truth to one another says, “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word ans is good for edification according to the need of the moment, that it may give grace to those who hear.” (NASB) Later on in Colossians 4.5, “Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity. Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned, as it were, with salt, so that you may know how you should respond to each person. (NASB) Proverbs 15.1 reminds us that “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. (NASB)

Scripture is teaching us that our words are powerful tools either for good or for evil. We choose which function they will have. The words that we use, (regardless if they are spoken, printed, or delivered in sign) are to be tools for the grace of God in the life of those around us. We choose the words we share with others. Perhaps we should be much slower to speak and evaluate the possible repercussions of what we share, or what we say, or what we post.

I am reminded of the four-way test of  the Rotary Club,

Of the things I think, say, or do:

  1. Is it TRUTH?
  2. Is it FAIR to all concerned?
  3. Will it build GOODWILL and build BETTER FRIENDSHIPS?
  4. Will it be BENEFICIAL TO ALL WHO ARE CONCERNED?

I encourage all who read my ramblings to consider your speech. Evaluate if your words are a tool for grace or an instrument of carnage.

Anyway, just my ramblings,

A Pastor in Camo

Discipline, Training, and other Four-Lettered Words

Discipline is a dirty word, generally speaking, in the culture in which we live. We are bombarded with images every day that encourage us to super-size our food, our beverages, our desserts and our portions. Instant gratification is the buzzword. If I can’t have it NOW, it isn’t worth having.

Further we are pelted with images on our phones, our televisions, our email, and on billboards with gratify all matters of consumerism, voyeurism, fetishism, and communicates to us that all of this sensual experience can be ours. We are told, “Go ahead! You can’t help yourself!” And we wonder why society is going the way that it is.

Discipline is frequently lost in the world we live in today.

I confess that I struggle with self-discipline. I think anyone who is truly honest and transparent does so. After all, discipline means delaying gratification. Discipline and training take word, sweat, and effort.

WeightLift_inlineI have been introduced to this four-lettered word, discipline the hard way. I have been on a journey to better health. For me that means loosing weight…and a lot of it. I have been tracking every bite that goes in my mouth. That in and of itself is hard. Such mindfulness has forced me to make choices. After all, do you have any idea how long you have to spend on a treadmill to work of one large Peanut Butter Cup Blizzard?

I have been tracking my exercise. Forcing myself to go to the gym and to be more active. That is really not fun. However, the long-term payoff is pretty good. I have lost weight. My knees feel better, and the Doctor LOVES my blood work numbers. My clothes are mysteriously getting larger! I still have a long way to go…but I can see some payoff.

All of this has caused me to think about the most difficult training of all. The training necessary to discipline our minds. After all, there isn’t an app to count what I am looking at, what I am seeing, what I am reading, or what I listen to . I am acutely aware of the drift in society to glorify and gratify the violent, the profane, the illicit, and the sensual. It is all too easy to feed (knowingly or unwittingly) those sides of our mind. Then we wonder why we can’t hear God speaking or see God moving as clearly as we once did. We have poisoned our minds with worldly content and deadened the spirit Sensitive side.

Scripture is replete with admonitions to discipline our minds, to nourish the Spirit and to encourage God’s work. Paul gives this challenge, “Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things…” (Philippians 4.8 NRSV) The apostle is reminding us of how important a thing it is to train our minds, to discipline our thoughts to produce goodness, love, and the personality of Christ.

So, perhaps we should go into training together?

Anyway, just my meanderings,

A Pastor in Camo