I am only 18 followers away from a huge milestone in the blogging world:
That’s 1,000 reasons to be very particular about what I write. So, while I am tempted to use this blog post to solicit those coveted numbers, I am instead pouring out my heart again to my readers, some that are quite possibly following me and don’t even know why. So here it is, even if it keeps me from going viral: (bloggers sarcasm! 😊)
This is one blog you probably don’t want to read.
But read it anyway. Give me a chance. Hear me out, and reserve your criticism for another day, because this issue has to be addressed:
God absolutely cares what comes out of your mouth.
No foul language is to come from your mouth, but only what is good for building up someone in need, so that it gives grace to those who hear. Ephesians 4:29
I absolutely believe and trust that God’s written Word, the Bible as my ultimate authority.
You can argue about culture, society, tradition, or Webster’s definition, but I will not argue about what I read in the Bible, and if you struggle to accept its authority, I encourage you to read Lee Strobel’s, A Case For Christ.
Now, let’s get to it. You can argue that using inappropriate language says nothing about your heart, but when one of God’s earliest commands was against the misuse of His Name, it seems to me that this is the root of the problem–choosing to believe that there is a God in heaven that is holy, that He has prescribed guidelines for this life that He has given us, and that our willingness to either follow His plan or go our own way will determine the course of our life…
…and what flows from our mouth.
That we, as a society, have come to view foul language as common, grieves my heart. When you can’t even take your children to Chick-fil-A or another family type restaurant without hearing some parent discipline their child with words you don’t want to have to explain to a 3-year-old… that the only sure way to protect my grandchildren from the vulgarity that is prevalent today would be to keep them at home with the television turned off.
Deeper still, is the grievance I have regarding the misuse of a basic freedom: the freedom to express ourselves. I know, I know. That’s what I’m doing in a blog. Here’s my point: When those who name the name of Christ use social media to criticize, belittle or complain about others, there are consequences far beyond earning a negative reputation.
The world is watching–and reading. They see your distaste, your distrust, and your criticism. Don’t you see it only adds fuel to the fire? I personally have friends and family that are not followers of Jesus, and I can tell you, when they read and see comments that reflect negativity toward the church, or other brothers and sisters in Christ, it only confirms in their mind the idea that they don’t need church.
It’s heartbreaking. I have family members that I have been praying for decades. Any positive influence that I have–all the years that they have been watching what God is doing in our home, our family, and our church can be quickly undone when they see God’s people acting selfish, petty, negative.
By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another. John 13:35
Lest you think that this is all negative, let me assure you that I most want to focus here on the good things that can come out of our mouths–the words that we choose to say, whether heartfelt or flippant. They can have a tremendous impact on the lives of others.
Words of encouragement.
We all need them. Crave them even.
Why, then, do we not give them more?
Talking to the sixth graders in my class at church, I am reminded of how vulnerable we are when it comes to words. They seriously grieve when they are ridiculed, left out, or belittled by their peers. Being kind at such a young age means that they are already having to learn to swallow the hurt of rejection and choose instead to JUST.BE.NICE.
Even when everyone around them isn’t being so nice…
Teaching our children kindness won’t be easy if we’re not practicing it. They know. They watch and they see if we are modeling what we say we want to see in them.
These kids are painfully honest. And they are vulnerable, and still moldable.
They really want to know how to respond properly in those situations.
I’m not blind, and they’re not either. It’s not until after we’ve endured years of such cynicism and angst that we allow ourselves to become calloused–and we start thinking that we can treat people however we want with no repercussions.
Only it’s a lie.
It matters. And there are consequences. Some of them long-term.
Choosing today, to just be nice, very well could be the catalyst that gives that young mom fresh courage.
It could be the word that sparks a fire in a dying marriage.
Or the balm for a wounded soul.
Words of encouragement are free. They cost us nothing–but a careless word or a critical spirit can be very costly. Both choices bring an eternal reward.
I want my words to be an investment in someone’s future, not a detriment.
Lord, help me.
Every sea creature, reptile, bird, or animal is tamed and has been tamed by man, but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. We praise our Lord and Father with it, and we curse men who are made in God’s likeness with it. Praising and cursing come out of the same mouth. My brothers, these things should not be this way. James 3: 7-10