Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? Can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? (James 3)
Thanks for clarifying, James:)
The words I choose to use in any encounter with you – hopeful or hurtful – pull back an inner curtain to my own heart. What I say, and how I say it, exposes who I really am.
Not to be too dramatic right off the bat, but the way I wield my words when I’m provoked sheds light on the condition of my own soul.
When I feel maligned or misunderstood, how I respond to you unlocks the door to the real me. What will I say, now? When I suffer – if your words offend me and I’m stung – my reaction to you will be telling. How will I speak, now?
Every word springs from what’s stored in the heart. No thing is wasted.
If my first response to your words is also biting and harsh, what does that say about me? When I secretly hope that my words will cut you down a size – leave a mark that you won’t soon forget – what does that say about me?
If I leave no room for peace with you, no space for better understanding you, what does that say about me?
It’s God’s word – not mine – that divides soul and spirit, joint and marrow. It’s only the active, double-edged (s)word of our Maker that penetrates the inner places, judging the thoughts and attitudes of every human heart.
It’s always a good day when I remember that I am not God.
Argh! I forget this so quickly. I assume to know what makes you tick. Without thinking, I label you after one encounter, and decide if you are worthy of my respect or scorn. Even though we might never have met, I presume to know where you’re coming from, where you are going, and how you are so misguided. I’m quick – eager even – to dismiss you, to keep you at arm’s length, to put you back in your rightful place.
I don’t make a very good god.
The true God opens his arms, welcomes in, and gave up his rightful place. Even though he knows exactly where we’ve come from, where we’re going, and how we are so misguided, he is not eager to condemn. He is eager to reconcile and make beauty from ashes.
The word of God searches the heart, and examines the mind. What does he find there? If you are ever stumped by this, consider your words and your tone when you are offended. Are they impartial and sincere? Are they considerate, and full of mercy? When you are hurt, is the goal of your communication to be friend, or foe?
My words, and their delivery, are a reflection of my heart – not an indication of yours. They are a tuning fork for what lies deep inside of me. What pitch is resonating to the world? Is it tuned towards the dark, or the light?
God’s words bring dead things to life. His words – not mine – can melt a heart of stone as easily as they can part the sea. His voice summons the sun each morning, and raises the dead. When God speaks, beauty is born. He can help us with our words.
We don’t make good gods, saints, but we can change our pitch to better reflect the character of a God who is good. The words we choose can reveal a heart that knows where it’s been, and where it’s going. With God’s help, we can speak beauty into the barren places, order into the chaos, and light into the dark.
Peace to you, and more grace for today,