Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Words, words, words

As all of you probably know, your words are very important. James 3:1-10 says this about the tongue,

1 My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment. 2 For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body. 3 Indeed, we put bits in horses’ mouths that they may obey us, and we turn their whole body. 4 Look also at ships: although they are so large and are driven by fierce winds, they are turned by a very small rudder wherever the pilot desires. 5 Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things.
See how great a forest a little fire kindles! 6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell. 7 For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and creature of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by mankind. 8 But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. 9 With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. 10 Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so

Right now, I am reading a book called Relationships: a mess worth making, by Timothy S. Lane & Paul David Tripp. It is a really good book, and I would recommend it to anyone who is striving to have better relationships that are built on Christ. Anyway, I just finished reading a chapter called "Talk" The authors had many good points, so the chapter will be the basis for my post. As I was reading the chapter, I was struck by a few things, viz. That God is the author of language (He speaks the first words in Gen. 1), and we are His ambassadors. So, what is an ambassador? "An ambassador does only one thing-represent. His job is to incarnate a king who is not present. Every word he speaks is directed by the king's interests and will." Quote taken from Relationships: a mess worth making, pg. 73. When I read this, I thought, "Wow...". I mean, I knew that before reading this, but I guess it just really struck home for me this time. Everything that we say is for a particular kingdom. Even in our everyday talk, actually, especially in our everyday talk, we need to make sure that the kingdom that we are pursuing with our words is God's kingdom. Have you ever wondered what it would be like to listen to a recording of everything that you have said over the past week or month? I know I have, and I hope that that would never happen; I would probably be mortified if it did. I once heard a quote, I don't remember by whom, but the quote went something like this, "If your friends knew everything that you say about them, there would be no two friends in the world." Ouch. That hurt. How come it is so much easier to bad-talk someone than it is to encourage them? It's because of our sin nature. It is easier for us to do wrong. But, as Christians, we don't want to stay at the place where we just do whatever is easiest. We strive to grow closer to God by obeying His commands. Another thing that I learned from the book, is that you need to have good communication with others. OK, I already knew that as well, but it also struck home. It is so frustrating to have one of your friends not act the way that you want them to, or the way that you think they should. The easiest thing to do is the get upset and ignore them or say hurtful things to them. I've done both, and it is not the easiest thing in the end. Because then the other person wonders, "Why the cold shoulder all of a sudden?". In their minds, they haven't done anything wrong. See what I mean? Good communication is crucial to a good relationship. It is also important to be able to speak the truth in love (Eph. 4:15). Look at the last part, in love. Not in anger, frustration, haughtiness, bossiness or attempt to pick out their flaws. We must correct or brothers and sisters in Christ when we see them going astray, but it is fruitless if we do not have the correct spirit. Has someone ever tried to tell you that you did something wrong, in, say haughtiness? Your, well at least my, first reaction is "Who do they think they are? I'm not going to listen to anything they say!" I've actually done that before (I didn't say it out loud, but I thought it), and then I proceeded to walk away all in a huff, just so they knew that I was mad. :) (Just for the record, I did end up going back to that person and apologizing for my pride) I would not recommend doing what I did if someone does not chastise you in love. So, people take things a lot better if you say them with the right attitude. I think that a good passage to keep in your mind is Eph. 4:29-30, which says,

29 Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

Now, to be a proper ambassador to the King, you must have a biblical agenda. Here are three things to keep in mind as you serve God with your talk (These are all taken from Relationships: a mess worth making):

  1. Consider the person - The words of an ambassador are always others-centered
  2. Consider the problem - The words of an ambassador always address the person's true need of the moment
  3. Consider the process - An ambassador seeks to say the right thing in the best way
So, my goal this week (and you are more than welcome to join me in this endeavor, if you want to) is to remember that I am an ambassador, and to remember who I am an ambassador for. That means I really need to guard my mouth, which is not always easy. Oh, like I said before, any and all prayers are greatly appreciated.

Whew! I didn't mean to go for that long... oh well ;)

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