Tuesday, September 20, 2016
4 Pertinent Questions
"And the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity;
the tongue is set among our members
as that which defiles the entire body,
and sets on fire the course of our life,
and is set on fire by hell."
Whoa. Did you read that verse? Rough.
It's rough because we all have a tongue, don't we? In the spirit of learning not to poke the bear, I have another tongue post. As I was driving to church on Sunday, I was listening to a sermon on the radio and the preacher was in James 3, speaking on the power of the tongue. As I drove, I was like, "Really, Lord? I thought I had a good week and this is what you want me to hear?" (I tend to personalize sermons on a regular basis - that's what happens when you're the pastor's wife and you never know how you're going to inspire a message or how you're going to be used in an illustration).
It ended up being a really good message, with a very powerful and practical application which is now being turned into my blog. And so, I now have some guidelines for conversation. Yes, I still believe that our words need to edify and build up each other, which I mentioned in my bear poking blog. Let's just build on that premise by adding 4 pertinent questions to ask yourself before you talk:
1. Is this true?
The first question is just common sense. Is the thing that I want to share or talk about - is it true? Philippians 4:8 tells us to set our mind on things that are true, lovely, pure, righteous - it is important that our words drip with truth and it starts with setting our minds on truth. So, ask yourself, is this true? If it's not or your not sure, then zip it.
2. Is this confidential?
Am I talking about something that was told to me in confidence? Why is it that we love to share a juicy story? We must be trustworthy, and if we're told something in confidence, then we must not share it or pass it along. This is especially true in the small group settings - we have to be able to share our requests and concerns with the confidence that they won't be passed around outside of the group. It's an integrity thing. If it was told to you in confidence, then zip it.
3. Is this necessary?
Why am I talking right now? Why am I sharing this? Does it add to the conversation? Is it important that I share this? I am starting to think that a high percentage of what I talk about is not necessary conversation...hmmm...zip, zip, zip.
4. Is this kind?
So what I am saying is true, it is not confidential and it's possibly necessary - but is it kind? Am I being kind, are my words kind, is the subject matter kind? This is the one that will change most of our conversation. It will stop the bear poking dead in its' tracks. For some reason we don't like to communicate kind things. We like to communicate judgments and negativity, rumors and gossip that tend to be unkind by nature. So if it's not kind, then...well, you know.
True, confidential, necessary and kind.
These are four great boundaries to put around your speech. Remind me again why we are doing this? Because poking the bear is costly? No, it's bigger than that. It's because the tongue is a powerful tool in life - a tool that can be used for God's glory or a tool that can start a fire and burn down a forest in the blink of an eye. James 3 warns us of the dangers of an unbridled tongue and any restrictions that we can put on our tongues are a help in life. Ultimately if we change how we think, we will change how we talk. If our desire is to build up and edify, then naturally our speech will be true and kind. We won't be breaking anyone's confidence and our speech will be necessary, as edification is always necessary!
Poor Dave, it's getting mighty quiet around the house...but maybe it's a refreshing change! Of course, he won't have as many sermon illustrations, so that might become a problem. How's the noise level in your house?