The Mouth

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Image by Protohiro (CCL)

Have you ever noticed how some people love to pick fights over such unimportant matters?  Some may not realize that they are picking fights over minutia, but in reality, that is exactly what they are doing.  Some have become so practiced at engaging in battle that it seems normal and satisfactory to them.

No doubt good intentions are the core reason that some engage with such provokingly prickling words, but good intentions don’t make the pecking any easier to take on the receiving side.  Like chickens, some choose to peck away at people they love and appreciate — over such little things!

Even Christians.  Of all the people who should reject this perplexing pecking problem of engaging in controversial conversation over minuscule issues, it should be Christians.  Not that we are perfect, but that we should be  attempting to understand the grace of God in such a way that we follow the advice given to us in the Bible.  Love your brother and sister.  Encourage them.  Let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another — all the more as you see the Day drawing near. (Heb. 10:24-25)  We aren’t to segregate ourselves to avoid conflict and hurtful words.  We are to meet with the body of Christ – interact with them – learn from each other – uplift each other.  Kindly.  Rationally.  Lovingly.

So many times we excuse our behavior in order to justify ourselves.  We fail to see that our worldview — the one that we are convinced is right — may not appear correct to another person.  We fail to see that our worldview on unimportant, earthy matters, opinions and preferences doesn’t matter in the long run.  It doesn’t matter in the short run either.  While the Bible is clear on empowering believers to expose error in biblical teaching or blatantly sinful behavior — it doesn’t mean that we should wiggle each and every little thorn in our brother’s flesh until it bleeds — especially when it concerns trivial earthly matters.

I recently had an encounter with someone I really like.  I appreciate their eccentricity because I have a few of my own quirks that others must put up with (and I appreciate that they do!)  I admire this person’s zeal and passion on earthly topics that interest them.  However, they mistakenly believe that their version of understanding on these topics is the only standard of acceptability, and thus proceeded to try to enforce their understanding on me in a fairly confrontational manner.  It was apparent that they didn’t perceive their words as confrontational — but nevertheless, they were.  Their perceived correctness empowered the behavior – but the behavior was still ill-placed and hurtful.

You see, regarding the little things in life, they overlooked the fact that I have my own intelligent understanding of the very topics under attack and our opinions obviously appear to disagree with each other.  The thing is – that’s ok!  We are allowed to disagree!  These little things are non-essentials.  They are preferences.  They are personal in nature and do not impact the big things of life; things like our salvation and growing in the knowledge of our Lord.

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Image by Fuzzy Gerdes (CCL)

It’s all proof of our fallen nature.  We desire recognition and appreciation.  We desire for our voice to be heard and appreciated.  We desire to have the world take notice — of us.  Silly, I know.

We must remember that our very nature and essence of being whispers into our soul that we are justified in our wrongful actions, when in fact, we are not.

The older I get, the more I try to say less.  Yet, even when I do (as was the case for this recent confrontation), even that is challenged!

Not necessarily in this blog.  This blog has a purpose – a way to leave a part of me for my children and grandchildren.  Hopefully, the words I leave are wise ones – honoring to God and others.  That doesn’t mean my words won’t be opinionated or purposely focused.  They will be.  But in the course of everyday life, I am trying to meditate on some verses to help me in my quest to use fewer words.

2 Timothy 2:14-17 Remind them of these things, and charge them before God not to quarrel about words, which does no good, but only ruins the hearers.  Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.  But avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness, and their talk will spread like gangrene.

Gangrene – that gives you some food for thought!

Ephesians 5:6Let no one deceive you with empty words. So – so important.  The world is full of empty words.

Proverbs always has some great advice from those past humans who have learned from the wisdom of experience.  For instance, I’m trying to learn to chew my words before I spit them out.  Proverbs 29:19- 20 By mere words a servant is not disciplined, for though he understands, he will not respond.  Do you see a man who is hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him. Proverbs 17:27 Whoever restrains his words has knowledge, and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding. Proverbs 16:24 Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body. Proverbs 12:18 Rash words are like sword thrusts (yes they are!)

I may have to write more about words later.  My study found some wonderful things to ponder.  Suffice it to say that words matter.  Delivery of words matters.  Some words should be restrained and most of all we should strive to make them gracious towards others – to sooth the soul of our friends and loved ones.

Yes, words matter.

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