ouch, man that hurt

July 9, 2017

Colossians 4:6

English Standard Version (ESV)

Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.

“The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit” (Proverbs 18:21)

Not-so-constructive criticism. For many of us this is a tough one, because we really mean for our criticism to be constructive. We want our little comments and suggestions to motivate our loved ones and inspire them to change (for the better, of course). But too often, they only devalue.  We say we just want our loved ones to be happy. But how can they be, when what they hear from us is that they are unacceptable and unlovable the way they are now? They get the message that they’re a disappointment to us; they’ve let us down.

It’s been said that some people find fault like there was a reward for it. I think it’s true. If we’re not careful, we can get in the habit of constantly criticizing other people, finding fault with them and tearing them down, for no good reason.

Truth not spoken in love. Just because something is true doesn’t mean it’s always loving or helpful to say it. This includes bludgeoning others with Scripture in a misguided attempt to set them straight. The family of a woman I know once found itself facing one crisis after another: loss of a job, death of an elderly parent, adult daughter attempting suicide, and adult son going through a divorce. To top it all off, she and her husband both came down with bronchitis.

When, for the first time in five weeks, they were finally able to attend church, they slipped into the pew exhausted and desperate for some spiritual nourishment. Within minutes they were accosted by a woman, barely more than an acquaintance, determined to take them to task for their recent absence. “I’ve noticed you haven’t been coming to church lately,” she began. “The Bible says we’re not supposed to ‘give up meeting together.’ We’re all busy, but we have to make it a priority. You need to make a commitment to be here.” She added, “I’m just telling you this because we’re supposed to ‘speak the truth in love.’” Seriously? There was no love behind her words. She was just being a busy-body. Love would have said, “It’s so good to see you. We’ve missed you. How have you been?” And later, “How can we help?”

“Humor” that gets out of hand. We were just teasing. Having a little fun. Then it got out of hand. Sarcasm has a place, for sure; it serves a purpose. It can be an effective tool to highlight hypocrisy and humble the proud and arrogant. (God uses a fair amount of it Himself.) But it’s not meant to be used to constantly ridicule and rip to shreds people we claim we love. Even when our quips are clearly intended to be funny, even when they’re accompanied by laughter, a daily barrage of snarky asides can be brutal to another person’s self-esteem. Even those of us who regularly enjoy a little “witty repartee” have to admit how quickly “cute” and “clever” can grow old.

Add a little sarcasm to a compliment and you can steal all the pride and joy, the enthusiasm, and the sense of accomplishment right out of someone else’s heart. “Wow! You cleaned your room for once. Too bad it doesn’t look this good every day.” Or, “Your teacher says you’re so organized and disciplined at school—wish you could be that way at home!” A favorite excuse: “We’re not laughing at you; we’re laughing with you.” Really?

The silent treatment. Strangely enough, one of the ways we wound with our words is to withhold them! When we refuse to communicate, when we won’t say what it is we’re upset about or what people have done wrong, we shut them out. We fill their hearts with anxiety and frustration and even dread. We make them feel isolated and rejected—without saying a single word. And that is after all, what the silent treatment is for. Not to be confused with taking time out or having a cooling off period, the silent treatment is all about manipulation and control. It’s a form of punishment or revenge that somehow feels more righteous than an angry outburst. But throwing this kind of tantrum is not the mark of an emotionally healthy, spiritually mature woman. It certainly isn’t biblical (see Matthew 18:15-17).

These are just a few of the weapons at our disposal; they go on and on.

So speak in love, be careful what you say and think before you speak.

I always stop at stop signs and say one Alabama, two Alabama, after getting stopped by the police for rolling through a stop sign. If only I practiced the same way before opening my mouth.

What we say can bless or harm.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Praise report, well this is the second time in last year that someone seriously ill, and mean you can’t get any more sick has been misdiagnosed with the wrong disease, been given the wrong medicine for several years and guess what, it’s Lyme disease, no cure but there is medicine that helps tremendously. So if you’ve been told you have MS, Lou Gehrig’s or even IBS, get a second opinion and tested.

 

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