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One of the things that is difficult between my son and I is figuring out to talk to each other. He is a very specific thinker and I’m more of a global thinker and so often I think I am answering a question of his and I’m not. He wants a straight up yes or no…but that’s not what I hear. Often I am left feeling so confused, and wondering how did I misunderstand?
Why do I tell you this?
I was thinking about that today as I read this chapter in The Faith-Shaped Life. How we talk as believers shows Christ to the world. If we are people of kindness and gentleness, people who are slow to anger, talking with love to those around us we show Christ to the world. The world then, has NO ambiguity about whose we are.
But problems arise right? The book of James tells us how much trouble our tongue can be. How our tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. Oh, how it can cause trouble. Anger, gossip, taking sides, sowing dissension, lying, heartless, self-willed, and all manner of inappropriate speech comes out of our mouths.
You know what I mean right? How often you want to say the right thing and don’t. When you want to share a concern, and end up gossiping. The times when you blurt something out, and hurt someone’s feelings. Those times when you fudge the truth, and one thing leads to another and trouble occurs.
What Do We Do?
In Proverbs we are told that “the lips of the righteous know what is acceptable“. (Prov 10:32) That means we need to be take our time and consider if our words are indeed acceptable and fitting to be said. Do the words we say build up or tear down? Do we take our time to make sure our words are wise, gentle, kind, patient, merciful, and sincere? It doesn’t mean we can’t offer correction or rebuke, but we can offer it with carefully, making sure our heart is in the right place.
We need to be careful of our language. Show Christ to the world around us in the way we moderate our words.